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Starship’s robot food delivery service launches Tennessee university

Starship Technologies has partnered with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville to roll out a robot food delivery service in a local area called Rocky Top.

A fleet of 40 autonomous on-demand robots will deliver from 16 campus eateries including Einstein Bros. Bagels, Steak ’n Shake, Starbucks, and Subway, among others.

Students, faculty, and staff can use the Starship app (iOS and Android) to order food and drinks from select dining partners to be delivered anywhere on campus.

Working in conjunction with Vol Dining, the service functions with the student meal plan so VolCard, Dining Dollars or Flex Dollars are accepted as payment along with debit and credit cards.

Drew Hyler, a senior studying supply chain management from Roanoke, Virginia, says: “I’m really excited for the robot service. The convenience of it is a game changer for a big campus like ours.”

Starship is already providing services to campuses across the country including Arizona State University, George Mason University, the University of Kentucky, and Purdue University.

Brian Browning, associate vice chancellor for finance and administration, says: “We’re always looking for new and innovative ways to bring enhanced and on-demand services to our students and campus community.

“As our campus population continues to grow, so must our ability to offer a variety of services.”

Starship Technologies operates commercially on a daily basis around the world. Its zero-emission robots have made more than 3 million autonomous deliveries and traveled millions of miles, and they make more than 100,000 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.

Computer vision-based navigation helps the robots map their environment to the nearest inch. They can cross streets, climb curbs, travel at night, and operate in both rain and snow. A team of humans can monitor their progress remotely and take control at a moment’s notice.

Ryan Tuohy, senior vice president of business development and sales at Starship Technologies, says: “We think the campus community at UT is going to love having Starship robots on campus.

“The school has a highly regarded program in supply chain and logistics, and our robots were created to help solve the inefficient last-mile delivery problem.

“UT students will not only get to interact with the robots on a daily basis, but we’re also looking forward to hiring student workers who will get valuable real-world experience.”

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