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University Rolls Out Autonomous Robots To Deliver Food To Hungry Students

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - It's the start of fall semester and the University of Kentucky is full of students, faculty and...robots. It's part of a new delivery service that's causing quite a stir on UK's campus in Lexington.

"We just lovingly refer to them as you know, the bots," says Dave Haygood, a launch specialist at Starship Technologies.

A brainchild from the co-founders of Skype, Haygood says Starship bots operate in a similar way to DoorDash and Uber Eats. You place your order on the app, the bot picks it up from a restaurant or store and then brings it right to customers.

"They can wake up in the morning and get their Starbucks delivered to them, or have their late-night snack delivered to them from a grocery store," Haygood tells CBS affiliate WKYT.

The bots could very well be the future of the food delivery service, at least for students on 25 campuses across the country, WKYT reports.

A new delivery service is causing quite a stir on the University of Kentucky's campus. That's because when students receive their order, it won't be a human they'll see at their door.

Posted by WKYT on Tuesday, August 24, 2021

"It's next level technology with contact-less delivery," says Pulkit Vigg, resident district manager for UK Dining.

The autonomous bots use Global Positioning System (GPS) to cross streets, maneuver through traffic, and even recover if they hit a bump or two in the road.

"If you want your food in the rain, if you want it in the snow, they'll take care of that for you," Haygood says.

The bots have already become an unofficial mascot among students.

"You're first day of school, you're Instagramming or sending a picture to your mom, and it's a selfie with a robot. That's priceless." Vigg says.

There are currently 22 delivery bots on campus with another eight expected to be added in a couple of weeks.

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