Students at the University of South Carolina will now be able to have food delivered to them by autonomous robot thanks to Starship Technologies and Grubhub.
Starship’s fleet of autonomous, on-demand robots will service over 30,000 Columbia campus students and its faculty and staff through the Grubhub app. The new service will begin with the campus community able to choose from 11 different on-campus dining options.
“I’m excited to see our new robot friends on our campus,” said USC president Michael Amiridis. “I’m sure our students will welcome them and put them to work to deliver their food.”
In the first phase of the service, the robots will deliver to locations in the main campus area bounded by Assembly, Blossom and Gervais streets. An expanded delivery area is planned for the future.
Each robot can carry the equivalent of about three shopping bags of goods and is insulated to keep food hot and drinks cool en route to delivery destinations. The 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. 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.
“We’re looking forward to launching our first service in South Carolina,” said Chris Neider, vice president of business development at Starship Technologies. “It’s extra special each time we launch service in a new state and we’re really excited to introduce the USC campus to our little robots and the convenience of autonomous delivery.”
Starship Technologies operates commercially on a daily basis around the world. Its zero-emission robots make more than 150,000 road crossings every day and have completed more than 5,000,000 commercial deliveries globally.