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U. of Wisconsin-Madison adds Starship robot delivery

Andrew Hudson   ||   Nov 08, 2019  ||   ,

Starship Technologies has added another university to its growing list of campus clients, with the announcement that the University of Wisconsin-Madison will deploy the company's robot delivery system on campus.

According to an official university release, UW-Madison will deploy a fleet of 30 Starship food delivery robots this week. “This delivery service allows us to reach them in a whole new way with made-from-scratch meals we offer from our dining markets," says Peter Testory, Director of University Housing Dining & Culinary Services. "This added convenience and flexibility of dining for students allows us to provide an affordable option for those on campus.”

The university's dining services department has posted a dedicated webpage for the new delivery solution to help students get acquainted with the new service. Delivery via the Starship robots will carry a $1.99 added charge. Orders will initially be paid for with credit/debit card only, but the university will implement support for payments via the Wiscard student ID in the coming weeks.

Students can open the Starship Deliveries app and choose the items they would like from one of three university-run, on-campus dining locations (Carson’s Market, Four Lakes Market, and Liz’s Market), and then drop a pin by selecting a delivery location on the in-app service map. A dining hall employee will then place the ordered items inside the Starship robot, before it automatically embarks on its trek across campus for delivery.

On the user's side, the app will display the robot’s journey to the delivery destination via an interactive map. Once the robot arrives, the user will receive an alert and they can meet the robot and unlock it through the app.

Robot delivery times vary depending on the items ordered and the chosen delivery location, but a typical order can reach its destination within minutes. Each robot can carry up to 20 pounds, or roughly the equivalent of three shopping bags of groceries.

UW-Madison's current delivery service area consists of the central campus cluster encompassing the university's residence halls and main academic buildings. However, there are already plans to expand the range of the delivery service to reach the further reaches of campus in the coming weeks.

Starship Technologies operates commercially on a daily basis around the world, and has established university deployments across the country. To date, Starship robots have traveled over 350,000 miles and completed over 150,000 autonomous deliveries.

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