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Starship robots deliver food at Kansas university
- August 21, 2023
- Steve Rogerson
California-based Starship Technologies has launched a robot delivery service at Wichita State University in Kansas.
Wichita State Dining is going high tech with the rollout of robotic food delivery on campus, thanks to a partnership with Starship Technologies.
Starship’s fleet of autonomous, on-demand robots are available to deliver food from the following campus restaurants: RSC Starbucks; Panda Express; Freddy’s Frozen Custard; Tu Taco; Market at Groundhouse; Cargill Café; and Black & Gold Grill.
The service works with the student meal plan and Shocker dollars, as well as via credit card.
Users can download the Starship Deliveries app on their mobile device and get food delivered for a $2.49 fee to any campus location. Users choose from a range of food or drink items, then drop a pin where they want their delivery to be sent. They can watch 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 a matter of minutes, depending on the menu items ordered and the distance the robot must travel. Each robot can carry the equivalent of about three shopping bags of goods.
“I am excited because it sounds like an affordable and convenient way to access food options on campus,” said WSU senior Liv Larson.
Wichita State University does not pay for the robots. Starship maintains ownership of the robots.
Starship is already providing services to campuses across the USA, including University of Illinois Chicago, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Bowling Green State University. Since launch, all campuses have increased the number of robots, dining options and hours of operation to meet the demand for the service.
“We’re pleased to announce Wichita State University as our newest university,” said Chris Neider, vice president at Starship Technologies. “The university has a strong reputation as a research university and we think the campus community will enjoy learning about new technologies first-hand with our robots. Getting to regularly interact with our robots will not only show the convenience of autonomous delivery but will be a fun experience for all Shockers.”
Starship Technologies operates commercially on a daily basis around the world. Its zero-emission robots have made more than five million autonomous deliveries, travelled millions of kilometres and make more than 150,000 road crossings every day. The robots use a combination of machine learning, artificial intelligence and sensors to travel on sidewalks and navigate around obstacles. The computer vision-based navigation helps the robots map their environment to the nearest centimetre. The robots can cross streets, climb kerbs, travel at night and operate in rain and snow. A team of humans can also monitor their progress remotely and can take control at a moment’s notice.
Wichita State University is Kansas’ only urban public research university, enrolling almost 22,000 students between its main campus and WSU Tech, including students from every state in the USA and more than 100 countries.
The Innovation Campus, which is a physical extension of the Wichita State University main campus, is one of the USA’s largest and fastest-growing research and innovation parks, encompassing over 120 acres and is home to a number of global companies and organisations.
Starship Technologies’ robots are designed to deliver food, groceries and packages locally in minutes. The delivery robots have completed more than five million autonomous deliveries around the world. Starship was founded by Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis (Skype chief architect and co-founder) and Alastair Westgarth is the CEO.