Skip to main content

Autonomous robot deliveries are coming to 100 university campuses in the U.S.

starship delivery robots line up
Starship Technologies

Pioneering autonomous delivery robot company Starship Technologies is coming to a whole lot more university campuses around the U.S. The robotics startup announced that it will expand its delivery services to 100 university campuses in the next 24 months, building on its successful fleets at George Mason University and Northern Arizona University.

Its robots will commence deliveries at the University of Pittsburgh on August 20 and expand to Purdue University on September 9, before coming to dozens of other universities in the coming months. The food-delivering bots will be in operation from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.

“The university demographic is great,” Starship Technologies CEO Lex Bayer, a former AirBnB executive, told Digital Trends. “Young people tend to use technology a lot. They’re also used to expecting things that are on-demand. They’re digital natives who are predisposed to technology that works this way. Most of these universities do not currently have any delivery options available. This is often because campuses are set up in a way that makes it difficult for traffic to move through them. The food areas can be away from the roads, and dorms can be difficult to access. That makes it difficult for traditional delivery companies to service this market.”

Starship’s delivery model means that students can place a wide variety of food orders via app and signal exactly where they want their food to be delivered. Their meal or snack will then arrive inside a delivery bot, which can be unlocked using a mobile app. Delivery fees vary by locations, but are typically $1.99 or less.

This isn’t Starship’s only announcement. The company has also just completed 100,000 commercial deliveries, and racked up an additional $40 million in funding as well. That brings its total haul to $85 million. According to its creators, Starship Technologies’ zero-emission robots have now travelld more than 350,000 miles, crossed 4 million streets, and delivered some 6,000 pizzas, 7,000 gallons of milk, 8,000 coffees, 9,000 sushi rolls, and a whole lot more.

You can expect those numbers to increase dramatically as Starship continues to arrive on more and more campuses (alongside other locations) around America.

Editors' Recommendations

Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
Inside the mind of an autonomous delivery robot
how starship robots navigate world 02 campus feat

In the summer of 2014, Ahti Heinla, one of the software engineers who helped develop Skype, started taking photos of his house.

There is nothing particularly unusual about this, of course. Only he kept on doing it. Month after month, as summer turned to fall and fall gave way to winter, Heinla went out to the same exact spot on the sidewalk and snapped new, seemingly identical pictures of his home. Was the man who had played a crucial role in building a multibillion dollar telecommunications app losing his mind? As it turned out, there was an entirely logical reason for Heinla’s actions -- although it might have nonetheless sounded a bit crazy to anyone who asked what he was doing. Ahti Heinla was helping future autonomous robots learn how to see.

Read more
U.S. military facial recognition could identify people from 1 km away
collage of facial recognition faces

Thanks to recent advances in machine learning, facial-recognition technology can pick faces out of a crowd with impressive accuracy. But just how far away from their subjects can cutting-edge facial-recognition systems work? According to a new report, a whole lot further than you probably think. So far, in fact, that the person identified may not even realize that they were caught on camera in the first place.

New Scientist writes that the United States military is in the process of funding the creation of a portable face-recognition device that's able to identify individuals from up to 1 kilometer away. That’s the equivalent of almost 11 football fields.

Read more
LA fire department to go electric with first battery-powered fire truck in U.S.
LAFD's electric fire truck.

The Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) is set to become the first one in North America to deploy an electric fire truck.

The LAFD recently confirmed it has placed an order for the truck with Austrian firm Rosenbauer and expects to take delivery of it in 2021.

Read more