Starship Technologies Inc. today rolled out its robotic food delivery service at Southern Methodist University. The company is providing a fleet of 16 autonomous robots for on-demand deliveries from 10 campus eateries at SMU.
“Ease of access to food is very important for college students on our campus,” said Austin Hickle, SMU student body president. “We are excited to have this service at SMU going forward because students now have the ability to order and receive meals within minutes.”
Southern Methodist is a nationally ranked global research university in Dallas. SMU said its “alumni, faculty, and nearly 12,000 students in eight degree-granting schools demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit as they lead change in their professions, communities, and the world.”
Starship a big robot provider on campuses
Starship Technologies said its mobile robots are designed to deliver food, groceries, and packages locally in minutes. The San Francisco-based company added that its delivery robots have traveled millions of miles and completed more than 2.5 million deliveries around the world. The robots drive autonomously but are monitored by humans who can take control at any time.
Starship said its zero-emission robots operate commercially on a daily basis around the world and make more than 100,000 road crossings every day.
The robots use a combination of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and sensors to travel on sidewalks and navigate around obstacles. Computer vision-based navigation helps the robots map their environments to the nearest inch, said Starship. The robots can cross streets, climb curbs, travel at night, and operate in both rain and snow, it claimed.
Starship is already providing services to campuses across the country, including Arizona State University, Purdue University, George Mason University, Northern Arizona University, and Purdue University.
Since launch, all of the campuses have increased the number of robots, dining options, and hours of operation to meet the high demand for the service. Starship said more than 1,000 of its robots are in use.
SMU gives robots a warm welcome
SMU students, faculty and staff can now use the Starship Food Delivery app, which is available for iOS and Android, to order food and drinks to be delivered anywhere on campus. Retailers include Cinco Taco, Einstein Bros Bagels, Lawyers Inn, Mac's Place, Panera Bread, Rollin' & Bowlin' Acai Bowls, Starbucks, Sushic, and The Market.
To get started, SMU users can open the Starship Deliveries app, choose from a range of their favorite food or drink items, then drop a pin where they want their delivery to be sent. They can then watch as a robot makes its journey to them, via an interactive map. Once the robot arrives, users receive an alert, and can then meet and unlock it through the app.
Delivery usually takes just a few minutes, depending on the menu items ordered and the distance the robot must travel. Each robot can carry up to 20 lb. at a time – the equivalent of about three shopping bags of goods, said Starship.
“We’re excited to announce the launch of our service at SMU,” said Ryan Tuohy, senior vice president of business development and sales at Starship. “We’re happy to expand our services in the Dallas area, which has warmly embraced our robots.”
“These robots are so cool!” said Carlie Lara, an SMU student. “As a very involved student, it will make eating on campus so much easier when I’m in a crunch for time.”
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