College students across the country can rejoice as another wave of robot delivery vehicles makes their way to another campus. Earlier in the month, PepsiCo put self-driving robots to the test at the University of Pacific in Stockton, Calif. Now, Starship Technologies is bringing a fleet of 25 mini robots to the George Mason University campus in Fairfax, Va.
The robots will be able to deliver food and drinks to a university with 40,000 students, faculty, and staff members. So on days like today when it’s too cold to go out for food or coffee, the mini-bots have students’ backs. Retailers such as Starbucks, Blaze Pizza, and Dunkin’ Donuts will be among the first to bring hungry college students snacks and drinks.
The bots themselves look like small coolers on wheels and deliver food to students and teachers on a campus meal plan through Sodexo, a food service company. The autonomous robots can hold up to 20 lb, or three grocery bags worth of food. Sensors and computer vision allow the robot to get around and overcome hurdles such as curbs or weather like rain and snow. Using an app, students place their order, and within a couple of minutes a bot rolls up with their order. Delivery to any location on campus will only cost $1.99.
Starship Technologies already utilizes the bots to deliver snacks in their Silicon Valley company campus, so the robots are quite familiar with traveling and remaining on course for delivery. Starship says the robots have traveled approximately 150,000 mi for over 25,000 trips.
Filed Under: Industrial automation, Robotics • robotic grippers • end effectors