Starship Technologies, an autonomous delivery services company, announced that it will begin delivery service on four additional college campuses this fall, adding to the 20 campuses on which it already operates.
The University of Illinois Chicago (UIC), the University of Kentucky (UK), the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Daytona Beach, Florida campus will all be graced with the Estonian-born company’s little six-wheeled, zero-emissions delivery robots.
This announcement comes the same day as Kiwibot, another autonomous sidewalk delivery robot company, has partnered with hospitality giant Sodexo to bring food delivery to college campuses. Whereas Kiwibot will focus more on delivering food from dining halls and university stores, it looks like Starship will work with on-campus merchants like Starbucks, Panda Express and Panera Bread, among others. Despite the different approaches, the outcome is the same: Delivery companies are preparing for a more “normal” school year, even though the Delta variant continues to ramp up case loads.
Students and faculty will be able to download the Starship Food Delivery app to choose meals and then drop a pin where they want their delivery to be sent. They can track the robot or they can wait for an alert to go outside and meet the robot once it has arrived, where they can then unlock it through the app. Starship says it aims to train and hire students at local campuses who are interested in joining the team and learning more about autonomous technology.