Tipping optional: Robot food delivery comes to UK’s campus | News


A fleet of 30 autonomous, on-demand robots will deliver from seven campus eateries including Starbucks, Subway, Panda Express and Auntie Anne’s. UK students and faculty can now use the Starship Food Delivery app to order food and drinks from participating local retailers to be delivered anywhere on campus within minutes. The service works in conjunction with UK Dining. The participating locations and hours of service can be viewed in the app. Credit cards, the Plus Account and Flex dollars are all accepted by the app.

Starship is already providing services to campuses across the country including Arizona State University, Purdue University, University of California, Los Angeles, George Mason University, Northern Arizona University and Bowling Green State University.

“We’re excited to bring robot delivery service to Kentucky,” said SVP of Business Development and Sales at Starship Technologies Ryan Tuohy. “UK has a significant impact that extends throughout the state and beyond. We can’t wait to meet all the students on campus and introduce this new technology. We’re confident our robots are going to be warmly accepted and that the students will love the convenience of on-demand delivery.” 

To get started, 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 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, which is the equivalent of about three shopping bags of goods.

Starship’s zero-emission robots use a combination of sophisticated machine learning, artificial intelligence and sensors to travel on sidewalks and navigate around obstacles. The computer vision-based navigation helps the robots to map their environment to the nearest inch. They can make more than 80,000 road crossings every day, and can also climb curbs, travel at night, and operate in both rain and snow.





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