TU first in state to offer Starship robot delivery service - The University of Tulsa
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TU first in state to offer Starship robot delivery service

Starship food delivery robots parked in a line in the Student Union

The University of Tulsa introduced Starship Technologies’ robot food delivery service today. From breakfast bagels and lattes to Mr. Beast burgers and hot wings, TU students and employees can have meals roll right up to their door anywhere on campus between 7:30 a.m. and 11 p.m.

Starship’s fleet of 15 autonomous, on-demand robots will deliver from seven campus eateries: Einstein Bros. Bagels; Tulsa Burgers & Wings; SOL Tex Mex; Subway; Benvenuto; Virtual Dining Concepts, which includes Mr. Beast Burgers, Tossed Salads, Mariah’s Cookie Boxes, Pardon My Cheese Steak and Buddy V’s Cake Slices; and Dietler Cafe in McFarlin Library. The school’s nearly 4,000 students and 1,000 faculty and staff can now use the Starship app (iOS and Android) to order food and drinks from local retailers to be delivered anywhere on campus within minutes. The service works in conjunction with TU Dining Dollars and Hurricane Gold as well as credit cards.

“In a world of ever-changing situations in the life of a student, the Starship delivery robots are an amazing addition to campus! These robots give students the convenience of working around abusy schedule, during sickness or in emergencies by ordering food instead of having to make their way over to dining location,” said TU Student Association President Justin Yang. “On top of that, the robots are fun to see around campus. I’ve seen a ton of students taking pictures and videos of them and loving the way they navigate around campus!”

TU joins other campuses across the country offering robot delivery, including George Mason University, Northern Arizona University, Bridgewater State University, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Since launch, all campuses have increased the number of robots, dining options and hours of operation to meet the high demand for the service.

“It’s always fun to bring our services to a new area, and we’re excited that The University of Tulsa is the first school in Oklahoma to get deliveries from Starship robots,” said Chris Neider, director of business development at Starship Technologies. “The school is well- known for its engineering and STEM education, so we think many students will enjoy getting to see autonomous technology on campus. But we anticipate that enjoyment across the campus because the robots make people’s lives more convenient and have proven to be a fun addition to any campus or community where they provide service.”

Starship food delivery robot photographed through a tree while driving past the Bayless bell

To get started, users open the Starship Deliveries app, choose from a range of their favorite food or drink items, then drop a pin where they want their delivery to be sent. They can then watch via an interactive map as the robot makes its journey. Once the robot arrives, they receive an alert and can then meet and unlock it through the app. The delivery usually takes a matter of minutes, depending on the items ordered and the distance the robot must travel. Each robot can carry the equivalent of about three shopping bags of goods.

“TU is known as a high-tech university, so there’s no reason our dining options shouldn’t offer high-tech service,” said university President Brad R. Carson. “We recently installed robot lawnmowers on campus to maintain our large green spaces in a quiet and environmentally friendly manner. The Starship robot food delivery service is a convenient amenity that aligns with the TU brand.”

Starship Technologies operates commercially on a daily basis around the world. Its zero-emission robots have made more than 4 million autonomous deliveries, traveled millions of miles and make more than 140,000 road crossings every day. 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.