Robots deliver food on campus


West Lafayette — Purdue University’s West Lafayette campus is now sharing its sidewalks with a fleet of more than 30 robots that can deliver meals at the push of a button. Starship Technologies, the world’s leading autonomous delivery service, recently launched robot food delivery services at Purdue, the first college in the Big Ten Conference to do so.

Purdue’s 43,000 students, along with faculty and staff, can access the Starship Deliveries app to order food and drinks to be delivered anywhere on campus within minutes.

The service works in conjunction with student meal plans at a cost of $1.99 per delivery. By making food and drink more accessible, Starship saves time and reduces stress and makes the busy lives of the Boilermaker community a little easier. A YouTube video is available here.

To use the service, users 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 in real time as the robot makes its journey to them, via an interactive map. Once the robot arrives, they receive an alert and can then meet and unlock it through the app. The delivery usually takes just a matter of minutes, depending on the menu items ordered and the distance the robot must travel. Each robot can carry up to 20 pounds, the equivalent of about three shopping bags of goods.

The robots use a combination of sophisticated machine learning, artificial intelligence and sensors to travel on sidewalks and navigate around obstacles. The robots can cross streets, climb curbs, travel at night and operate in both rain and snow. A team of humans can also monitor their progress remotely and can take control at a moment’s notice if required.

In addition to university campuses, Starship also delivers groceries and packages in local neighborhoods and a range of items on corporate campuses around the globe. The company has also played a role in helping to bring legislation allowing delivery robots to operate on sidewalks across nine U.S. states, the District of Columbia and several countries.