Starship Technologies, Aramark launch contactless robot food-delivery service at ASU

Food delivery robot on a sidewalk

Starship Technologies' autonomous food-delivery robots near Interdisciplinary B building on the Tempe campus. Students and employees can use the Starship app to order food and drinks from on-campus retailers to be delivered anywhere on campus, within minutes. This service accepts Maroon and Gold dollars. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Aramark, a leading food and facilities partner with hundreds of colleges and universities across the U.S., has partnered with Starship Technologies to roll out the tech company’s robot food-delivery service on Arizona State University's Tempe campus. The fleet of 40 robots will serve ASU’s on-campus community.

Starship’s autonomous, on-demand robots will deliver from select campus eateries with the hopes to expand over the academic year. The students, faculty and staff can now use the Starship app (iOS and Android) to order food and drinks from on-campus retailers to be delivered anywhere on campus, within minutes. This service accepts Maroon and Gold dollars; there is a delivery charge with each order.

Starship is already providing services to over 10 campuses across the country, including George Mason University, Northern Arizona University and Purdue University. 

To get started, users open the Starship Deliveries app, choose from a range of their favorite food or drink items, then drop a pin where they want their delivery to be sent. 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 delivery usually takes just a matter of minutes, depending on the menu items ordered and the distance the robot must travel. Each robot can carry up to 20 pounds — the equivalent of about three shopping bags of goods.

“Campus life looks a lot different than it did at the beginning of the year,” said Ryan Tuohy, senior vice president of business development at Starship Technologies. “Our robots provide contactless delivery, which can help keep students safe and make social distancing easier. We think the ASU campus community is going to love the convenience that our delivery robots offer, and we’re excited to become a part of life at this innovative university.”

Starship Technologies operates commercially on a daily basis around the world. Its robots have traveled hundreds of thousands of miles, crossed more than 5 million streets and completed more than 500,000 commercial deliveries. 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 humans can also monitor their progress remotely and can take control if needed.

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