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Arizona State deploys Starship robot delivery

Arizona State University is the latest institution to turn to robot delivery from Starship, with a fleet of 40 autonomous robots being deployed on the Tempe campus. Assisting in the initiative is ASU’s food-service provider, Aramark, who has partnered with delivery robot provider Starship Technologies to provide the program to higher education institutions.

According to an official university release, the fleet of 40 robots will serve ASU’s on-campus community and will deliver from select group campus dining locations to start with the hopes to expand the program over the academic year. ASU students, faculty and staff can all leverage the Starship mobile app to place their food and drink orders, and select on-campus locations where the robots will place deliveries.

Every order placed through Starship will include a delivery charge, and the service accepts ASU’s Maroon and Gold dollars — declining balance funds that work like a debit card and can be used at any Sun Devil Dining location.

ASU joins a growing roster of campuses across the country to deploy Starship delivery robots on campus, including Purdue University, Georgia Southern University, Ole Miss, the University of Houston, and more.

To get started, ASU students open the Starship Deliveries app, choose the food items they want, then drop a pin on the map in the mobile app to designate where they want the delivery to be sent. The user can then watch as the robot makes its journey to them via the interactive map. Once the robot arrives at its destination, a push notification is sent to the user to meet and unlock the robot through the app.

Deliveries can typically be fulfilled in 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.

“Campus life looks a lot different than it did at the beginning of the year,” says 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 robots use a combination of machine learning, artificial intelligence and on-board sensors to navigate sidewalks and avoid obstacles. The robots can cross streets, climb curbs, travel at night and operate in both rain and snow.

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