Autonomous Robots to Deliver Food on College Campuses

Starship Technologies, creator of a six-wheeled delivery robot with an innovation geared towards college campuses and other controlled environments, just announced $17m in new funding. They are also expanding their delivery services to two new campuses: UCLA and Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts.

‘Completing one million deliveries is a milestone that everyone at Starship is celebrating’, says Ahti Heinla, Co-founder and CEO of Starship Technologies. ‘We are delivering a fully commercial service operating 24/7 across five different countries now doing thousands of deliveries a day and millions of autonomous miles per year. This scale puts Starship on par with the biggest companies in the self-driving car market when it comes to miles travelled in the last year alone. We’re proud to be offering a crucial service that is now becoming part of everyday life for millions of people’.

This pandemic has increased the demand in delivery systems as consumers are now expectedly shifting towards online orders. Autonomous delivery services, using either autonomous mobile robots or self-driving vehicles for deliveries have had to shift their sales pitch to meet the demand, making an emphasis on contactless delivery.

Starship is probably the most popular delivery robot developer. Not only did they start offering delivery services on college campuses, the company recently introduced its robot food delivery service in Fairfax City, VA. The company also offered free service for delivery for healthcare workers.

Starship has been rapidly expanding on college campuses to better position themselves to strike deals with administrators for the deployment of its delivery services in place of the on-campus dining options. The campuses get to enjoy their novel technology while Starship gets a powerful guinea pig to test their invention before moving on to bigger environments in cities around the world.

UCLA in collaboration with Starship offers autonomous delivery from restaurants such as Lu Valle, Blaze Pizza, Bruin Buzz and Southern Lights. Bridgewater State University is delivering from campus restaurants such as Starbucks Café and Bears Den.

The additional funding comes when interest in the autonomous delivery industry is increasing exponentially. Contactless delivery is one of the most effective ways to protect vulnerable people and adhere to the social distancing protocols of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is particularly important on college campuses.

‘Over the last few years, there has been a growing interest for food deliveries on campus, and our new partnership with Starship Technologies has come at the perfect time’, says Cindy Bolton, Associated Students UCLA Director of Food Operations. ‘The new service is an excellent alternative to traditional delivery, especially as we continue to confront the challenges of COVID-19. By using delivery robots, ASUCLA Restaurants can serve more essential workers and students on the UCLA campus.’

The Starship service makes use of an iOS and Android app which enables users make their choice of a meal and then drop a pin of where they would like their delivery to be sent to. An interactive map tracks the position of the robot. Upon its arrival, the customers unlock a secure compartment through the app.

By Marvellous Iwendi.

Source: ZDNet