Food Delivery Robots are Coming to Pitt’s Campus

If you’ve been on campus recently, you might have noticed small white robots roaming around Pitt’s sidewalks. Rolling past pedestrians and across crosswalks at a steady 4 mph, it’s almost like they have a mind of their own. So, what exactly are these contraptions doing? Drumroll, please: these devices, released by Starship Technologies, will be delivering food all over Pitt’s campus shortly. 

Watch out, Postmates and UberEats, because this is the future of food delivery. With the push of a button on the Starship app, the robots will pick up your meal and bring it right to your doorstep for a flat delivery fee of $1.99. They use cameras and sensors to guide themselves through pedestrians and traffic as well as learn about their environment. They can also read traffic lights and follow students, so they know when it’s safe to cross the street. The bots can even speak if someone is in the way.

According to Starship CEO Lex Bayar, the advantage of using a delivery robot over a human is the robot’s ability to work long hours without breaks. There’s also a lack of guilt or shame from sending a delivery person across campus to get you pizza at 2 a.m.v

Photo by unknown via The Verge

This new technology may sound familiar – that’s because it’s already taken over George Mason University. Next up is Pitt and Purdue University, each set to receive 25-50 robots. However, there’s a catch. Starship Technologies is bringing these devices to Pitt through a partnership with Sodexo which means students will probably only be able to order from Pitt dining locations, such as Forbes Street Market.

Seeing these little bots navigate their way down Fifth Avenue is, admittedly, kind of cute. It’s exciting to know that Pitt is one of the first universities to try out new technology like this.

As of yet, there’s no word on exactly when the robots will officially begin their delivery services. For now, it seems like they’re just being test-driven. However, if you’re interested in using the delivery service, download the ‘Starship – Deliveries’ app. Maybe the next time you’re running late to class, you can get a breakfast sandwich delivered right to you in Cathy by a friendly robot. Check that off your bucket list.

GIF by Disney Pixar via GIPHY

This all sounds like something straight out of WALL-E, and I’m not complaining.