July 22, 2024

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Than a Food Fitter

Delivery robots carry food across campus | Local

2 min read

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Food delivery robots are now carrying online orders across the University of Idaho’s campus.

UI’s new dining provider, Chartwells Higher Education, partnered with San Francisco-based Starship Technologies in December to bring 15 of the robots to Moscow. They can deliver meals and drinks within a 4-mile radius from several Idaho Eats locations, including Qdoba, True Burger, Einstein Bros. Bagels and Cravings by Joe.

The six-wheeled robots could be seen rolling around campus Wednesday as students and employees began making orders through the Starship Food Delivery app.

“We’re excited to bring this service to a wide array of our dining options,” Cami McClure, assistant vice president for Auxiliary Services, stated in a news release from UI. “The university community is eager for on-campus dining delivery and now, with Starship Technologies, we are able to offer a fun, fast and friendly way to deliver.”

The app lets users watch the robot in real time through an interactive map. Once it arrives, the person is alerted and can unlock the robot in the app. Students can use dining dollars to place orders.

The university is the first launch site for the robots Idaho.

Starship also has food delivery robots at the University of Texas, Dallas; University of Houston; University of Nevada, Reno; and Bowling Green State University campuses.

“We are very pleased to expand our services to Idaho,” Ryan Tuohy, senior vice president of Business Development and Sales at Starship Technologies, stated in the news release. “We think the entire campus community will love seeing the robots roaming around campus and appreciate the convenience of on-demand deliveries, whether that means skipping long lines, sleeping in or getting deliveries for late night studies.”

The robots weigh less than 100 pounds and can carry the equivalent of about three bags of groceries. Depending on the menu items and the distance the robot must travel, deliveries can take just a few minutes.

According to the news release, Starship plans to hire students to work with the fleet.

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