Georgia Southern University is the first institution in the state to provide Starship robots for food delivery to faculty, staff and students. The initiative will deploy 20 of Starship's autonomous delivery robots to deliver food from on-campus dining locations to designated pickup locations.
The university's Information Technology Services, Auxiliary Services, and Eagle Dining Services were all included in the deployment process. University officials hope that introducing the delivery robots will help students feel more secure as they dine on campus during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“My hope is that it brings a sense of enhanced safety and convenience to our students. While we are all living through the COVID-19 pandemic, we are hoping that the robots will allow for easier social distancing," says Clint Bridges, Information Technology Services at Georgie Southern. "The fact that students can order a meal from their residence hall room and have it delivered by an automated delivery vehicle keeps them close to home where they can feel the most at ease and still enjoy a meal from one of our dining locations on campus.”
Six-wheeled robots independently navigating the #StatesboroCampus may look a little strange. But it will soon be commonplace as these robots have been mapping routes to campus locations to prepare for contactless food delivery this fall.
📰🔗 https://t.co/Uhtgdd6NAY@EDSatGSU pic.twitter.com/tHUzJhrmoq
— GeorgiaSouthern (@GeorgiaSouthern) August 7, 2020
With a new set of challenges emerging from COVID-19, safer on-campus dining is a sentiment that's being shared by Starship Technologies, as well.
“Students are looking for ways to get food delivered in the safest and most convenient way possible at the moment,” says Ryan Tuohy, SVP of Business Development at Starship Technologies. “Our robots are fast, friendly and help make life a little bit easier especially in these challenging times.”
Starship robots at Georgia Southern began delivering food to students and other members of the Statesboro campus on August 10, processing orders from university dining facilities and retail dining locations including Starbucks, Market Street Deli and Sushi with Gusto. Users who place an order for delivery can track the robots location and estimated delivery time through the app. The robots themselves are capable of maneuvering sidewalks and navigating around obstacles like curbs and pedestrians.
Students place their orders and select their desired delivery location in the Starship app, with deliveries typically completed in 30 minutes or less. Delivery locations must be outside as the robots cannot enter buildings, and the robots can only be unlocked by the order recipient via the Starship app.
“Eagle Dining Services is excited to offer our students a new means of service with innovative technology,” says Jeff Yawn, executive director of Eagle Dining Services. “These robots allow us to serve more areas of campus, safely and securely in these unprecedented times."