Students, faculty and staff at East Carolina University can now have food delivered by robots from main campus dining locations through an ECU Dining Services partnership with Starship Technologies and Grubhub. Starship has a fleet of on-demand autonomous robots that will deliver food and drinks through the Grubhub app. These robots will be able to deliver all over ECU’s main campus, including College Hill. ECU said that this service can be used in conjunction with a student’s meal plan or through a Grubhub account. “ECU Dining Services is excited to offer this innovative service to our campus community,” said Celia Daniels, director of dining services. “Campuses across the country have had to increase the size of their Starship fleets to meet demand, and these fun and convenient robots are sure to be popular in Pirate Nation as well.”
Similar to a normal Grubhub order, the robots can be tracked through an interactive map as it makes its way for the delivery. It can hold up to 20 pounds of food. A Waterloo based start-up, LoopX.ai, has also created an autonomous robot, GoosEx, to deliver food all over the University of Waterloo campus.
LoopX.ai created the robot in order to showcase its technology and its ability to handle adverse weather conditions in Canada. “We want to use our autonomous technique to reduce the costs and use a robot to reduce the carbon emissions,” Chao Yu, founder and CEO of LoopX.ai said. The creators said other delivery robots commonly can’t handle seeing snow, but GoosEx is capable of recognizing it and driving right over.
Customers within a three kilometre range can place an order online and receive a code in return. Food is then loaded into the machines insulated compartment at the University Plaza, and makes its way to its destination, typically within half an hour. Once it arrives, customers put in the code, and the tamperproof door opens up for them to enjoy. If GoosEx comes across an obstacle, it will make its way around and continue on with its delivery path. If the machine comes across something that it can’t get around, it relays a message to a remote control team that can get it back on its path.