Sodexo and Starship Technologies have launched a robot delivery service today at Northern Arizona University, with 30 new foodservice robots active on the campus.
To raise awareness the companies have partnered with Einstein Bros. Bagels to offer free breakfast for the remainder of the academic year to the NAU student who places the first order via the Starship app.
The school’s nearly 25,000 students and faculty can now use the Starship app to order food and drinks from local retailers to be delivered anywhere on campus, within minutes.
Each on-demand delivery costs just $1.99 and also works in conjunction with the student meal plan.
Other participating retailers include national chains Star Ginger, as well as on-campus restaurants Cobrizo Mexican Grill, Turnip the Greens, G’s New York Style Deli, and The Wedge Market and Pizza.
This also marks one of the first times that sidewalk delivery robots are operating in Arizona, one of the seven states that have approved the operation of delivery robots.
The companies also revealed that an extra 1,500 breakfast orders have been delivered autonomously since the two companies joined forces to debut the Starship delivery robots on the campus of George Mason University (GMU) in January.
This follows a similar pattern seen at corporate campuses where delivery robots were added.
Ryan Tuohy, SVP, business development, Starship Technologies, said: “We’ve been very pleased with how quickly Starship has been embraced on college campuses.
“These campuses are hubs of innovation and activity, with both students and faculty needing convenient and flexible services. Our on-demand delivery is perfectly suited to this environment and we can’t wait to introduce our robots to the students and faculty at Northern Arizona University.”
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 operators can also monitor their progress remotely and can take control at a moment’s notice.
Sodexo and Starship plan to continue to expand the program to additional campus locations globally in the future.
Barry Telford, CEO, Universities West, Sodexo North America, said: “Sodexo oversees dining services at more than 700 colleges and universities which gives us unique insights into the evolving needs and preferences of students.
“Today’s college students are prolific users of food delivery apps and they place a high value on convenience, ease and diversity of options, so we are thrilled to be able to provide this cutting-edge robot delivery service to Northern Arizona University via our partnership with Starship.”