USC launches on-campus dining delivery service via robots with Starship Technologies and Grubhub
Students now have 11 options to choose from during the initial limited launch
COLUMBIA, S.C. and SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Autonomous robot food delivery is now available on the historic Horseshoe and the University of South Carolina’s core campus.
Starship’s fleet of autonomous, on-demand robots will service over 30,000 Columbia campus students and its faculty and staff through the Grubhub app. The new service will begin with the campus community choosing from 11 different on-campus dining options.
“I’m excited to see our new robot friends on our campus,” USC President Michael Amiridis said. “I’m sure our students will welcome them and put them to work to deliver their food.”
In the first phase of the service, the robots will deliver to locations in the main campus area bounded by Assembly, Blossom and Gervais streets. An expanded delivery area is planned for the future.
Each robot can carry the equivalent of about three shopping bags of goods and is insulated to keep food hot and drinks cool en route to delivery destinations.
The robots use a combination of sophisticated machine learning, artificial intelligence and sensors to travel on sidewalks and navigate around obstacles. The computer vision-based navigation helps the robots to map their environment to the nearest inch. The robots can cross streets, climb curbs, travel at night and operate in both rain and snow. A team of humans can also monitor their progress remotely and can take control at a moment’s notice. More information on the robots can be found on the Carolina Food Co. website.
Grubhub and Starship are already providing robot food delivery services to campuses across the country, including at the University of Kentucky and University of Tennessee. Since launching, all campuses have increased the number of robots, dining options and hours of operations to meet the growing demand for the service.
“We’re looking forward to launching our first service in South Carolina,” said Chris Neider, vice president of business development at Starship Technologies. “It’s extra special each time we launch service in a new state and we’re really excited to introduce the USC campus to our little robots and the convenience of autonomous delivery.”
“We’re proud to build on our partnership with the University of South Carolina by offering robot delivery to students and faculty,” said Rob DelaCruz, vice president and general manager of Grubhub Campus. “This type of delivery is a perfect fit for campus environments to provide scalable and cost-effective food delivery solutions to students. We’ve seen that students love the convenience and repeatedly choose this fun, new way to get their meals delivered right to their door.”
Starship Technologies operates commercially on a daily basis around the world. Its zero-emission robots make more than 150,000 road crossings every day and have completed more than 5 million commercial deliveries globally, more than any other autonomous delivery provider.
About Starship Technologies
Starship Technologies is revolutionizing deliveries with autonomous robots. The robots are designed to deliver food, groceries and packages locally in minutes. The delivery robots have traveled millions of miles and completed over five million autonomous deliveries around the world. Starship was founded by Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis (Skype Chief Architect and Co-
About the University of South Carolina
The University of South Carolina is a globally recognized, high-impact research university committed to a superior student experience and to innovation in learning, research and community engagement. Founded in 1801, the university is a top-tier Carnegie Foundation research institution offering the No. 1 first-year student experience among public universities
and more than 300 academic degree programs. More than 50,000 students are enrolled at one of 20 locations throughout the state, including the research campus in Columbia. With 60 nationally ranked academic programs — including top-ranked programs in international business, the nation’s best honors college and distinguished programs in engineering, law, medicine, public health and the arts — the university is helping to build healthier, more educated communities in South Carolina and around the world.
Grubhub is part of Just Eat Takeaway.com (LSE: JET, AMS: TKWY), and is a leading U.S. food ordering and delivery marketplace. Dedicated to connecting diners with the food they love from their favorite local restaurants, Grubhub elevates food ordering through innovative restaurant technology, easy-to-use platforms, and an improved delivery experience. Grubhub features more than 365,000 restaurant partners in over 4,000 U.S. cities.