WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita State University has partnered with Starship to bring Starship Robots, or autonomous food delivery robots, to campus. WSU is the first university in Kansas to have them.
“Our starship delivery robots will have several of our staff be able to fulfill orders, put them in, they can deliver across campus, they can meet you outside your class, and then they go about their day, and you don’t have to walk in the heat so its kind of nice,” said Senior Marketing Manager for WSU Dining Services Kelly Linenberger.
The deliveries can also be personalized.
“You can even select personalities for the robot. You can select music option to play when you get your food delivered as well,” said Joe Maloney, the launch lead for Starship Technologies.
The robots are 99% autonomous.
“They are completely on their own as they go throughout the campus. That other 1%, of course, is gonna be, you know, when they might need help. So it might be a busy crossing that sort of thing. It’s just a safety purpose, of course, but they are more than capable of weaving in and out of foot traffic and delivering entire deliveries completely unmanned as well.” said Maloney.
Food options will come from places on campus, starting with seven different options.
“So we have some not just at the Rhatigan Student Center, but we’ll also have deliveries coming from the convenience store, the Groundhouse, we’ll have a ghost kitchen which we’re calling the Black and Gold Grill,” said Linenberger.
The robots will be launched Monday, Aug. 14. All it takes is an order on the Starship – Food Deliver app.
“You download the app, you scroll through, customize your order just like you would if you went into the student center or building, and then your food comes to you,” said Linenberger.
The orders will come to you wherever you are on campus.
“You don’t have to explain to a delivery driver where you’re located because you drop a pin exactly where you like it,” said Maloney. “You could be sitting at a park bench or a picnic table and drop the pin right there on the map, and that’s where the robot is gonna go.”
It takes a button on the app to unlock the robot, making the delivery secure.
“Your robot will be locked the entire way. It’s one order per robot,” said Maloney. “When the robot arrives to the point that you have chosen, is when you’ll get a button that allows you to unlock the robot and receive your order.”