Largest Fleet of Food Delivery Robots Launched

Students at George Mason University can have groceries or orders from Starbucks and Dunkin' delivered to them.


(PRNewswire)  Sodexo and Starship Technologies recently launched robot food delivery services at George Mason University's 40,000-student Fairfax, Virginia campus. Students, faculty and staff can access the Starship Deliveries app to order food and drinks to be delivered anywhere on campus. Blaze Pizza, Starbucks, Dunkin' and a Sodexo-branded campus grocery store are the first retailers to participate, with more to be announced in the coming weeks.

Each on-demand delivery costs just $1.99.

With a fleet of more than 25 robots at launch, this initiative is the largest implementation of autonomous robot food delivery services on a university campus. Sodexo is a global provider of food and facilities management services. The service works in conjunction with student meal plans. 

To get started, users open the Starship Deliveries app, choose from a range of food or beverage items, then drop a pin where they want their delivery to be sent. They can then watch as the robot autonomously makes its journey to them via an interactive map. Once the robot arrives, they receive an alert, and can meet the robot and unlock it through the app.

The entire delivery usually takes 15 minutes or less, depending on the menu items ordered and the distance the robot must travel. Each robot can carry up to 20 lbs – the equivalent of about three shopping bags of goods. Commuter students can even meet the robot on their way into class. 

Starship Technologies is a leading autonomous delivery service that operates around the world. Their robots have completed over 25,000 deliveries and travelled more than 150,000 miles. The robots use sophisticated machine learning, artificial intelligence and arrays of sensors to seamlessly travel on sidewalks and navigate around obstacles.

The computer vision-based navigation uses proprietary technology to provide precision in telemetry to the nearest inch. The robots can cross streets, climb curbs, travel at night and operate in both rain and snow. In addition, the robots can be stored in pods located around campus where their batteries are automatically switched so they can continue to operate independently, with no human involvement.

Sodexo and Starship plan to expand the program to additional campus locations in the future.