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Delivery robots take over University campus

By Retail Technology | Wednesday January 23 2019

Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts are among the retailers delivering with a fleet of robots at George Mason University in Virginia, USA

Launched by Sodexo and Starship Technologies, Mason’s 40,000 students, faculty and staff can access the Starship Deliveries app (iOS and Android) to order food and drinks to be delivered anywhere on campus, within minutes – at a cost of $1.99 per delivery.

With a fleet of more than 25 robots at launch, this initiative is the largest implementation of autonomous robot food delivery services on a university campus. 

“We’re excited that our students, faculty and staff get to be at the forefront of this pioneering campus food delivery service,” said Mark Kraner, executive director  for campus retail operations at George Mason University. “This will enhance life for everyone at the University, and that’s something we’re continuously looking to build upon.”

To get started, users open the Starship Deliveries app, choose from a range of their favourite food or drink items, then drop a pin where they want their delivery to be sent. 

Interactive map

They can then watch as the robot makes its journey to them, via an interactive map. Once the robot arrives, they receive an alert, and can then meet and unlock it through the app. 

The entire delivery usually takes 15 minutes or less, depending on the menu items ordered and the distance the robot must travel. 

Each robot can carry up to 20 lbs – the equivalent of about three shopping bags of goods.

Mason student Jenna Dayton added: “The lines can get long in between classes, and once you get a table at the library, you don’t want to give it up. Not only will this make my life easier as a student, but I’m going to get a visit from a robot!”

Sodexo and Starship plan to expand the program to additional campus locations globally in the future.

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