Colleges use robot food delivery

Robots are seen around college campuses, delivering food and snacks to students who place orders


David Hamlin

Robot delivery. ASU is one of many campuses across the country using robots to deliver food to Customers. Students can order from their smart phones.

Jacob Godicz, staff writer

Starship is a company that uses their fleet of robots on college campuses to deliver food to anyone that lives on campus.
“Starship is a startup company that is looking to reinvent the product delivery industry with a faster and more efficient service. Starship robots allow food, groceries, or other products to be delivered at a fraction of the cost due to the all electric robot, unlike other delivery services that require a human to be driving their car all around a city to make a delivery,” said David Hamlin, an intern for Starship.
Download the Starship app, and choose the delivery option. Parcels, groceries and food are directly delivered from stores, at the time that the customer requests via a mobile app. Once ordered, the robot’s entire journey and location can be monitored on a smartphone.
If the bot were to ever get stolen, the customer could see the exact location of the bot and the compartment with the food is locked and can only be unlocked with the phone the food was ordered from. If the customer isn’t there right as the robot is at their door with the delivery, Starship will wait up to 12 minutes before the order is canceled and it takes its journey back to the store.
“The robots are secured through multiple mechanical locks that can only be opened with the phone of the person who ordered the food, and any incident that occurs, like damage to the bot, will be promptly dealt with by a starship team member to ensure the delivery continues on its way with as little issue as possible,” said Hamlin.
The company Starship Technologies was first founded by Skye co-founders, initially called Project Echo in July of 2014 but the first fleet called “Stealth” was launched November 2015. The latest model just called starship is small being only 22 inches high, 22 inches wide and 27 inches long with six wheels. Starship robots go 3.7 miles per hour because they are only supposed to go around a college campus. Starship can go a max of three to four miles in one charge. It uses ultrasonic sensors, radars and different types of cameras to navigate the map to get to the customer’s location. Costs are as usual for any delivery service, such as ubereats, grubhub, and postmates.
“I think the robots are a really cool idea but they aren’t very effective. I feel like the weather can make them unreliable,” Wyatt Courtney, a senior.
If something were to come in front of the bot while it tries to deliver food it would simply stop and wait for that object, possibly for either a pedestrian or a starship worker to move that object.
“When I saw the robot dodge a person I was amazed at its capabilities and the people behind its craft. I never thought a robot could think like a human, but maybe I was wrong,” Matt McGregor, a senior.
Starship is not the only delivery robot out there. Since its been rolling around delivering, a few companies have caught onto the idea. According to Digitaltrends, FedEx wants to partner up with many retailers like Target, Walgreens and Walmart to compete with Starship, even with their robots that can climb stairs and curbs, which the Starship cannot do. Amazon also caught onto the idea of robot delivery, but has not had too much information about that project put out yet.