Ordering food just got a lot easier at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Starting Tuesday, 40,000 students, faculty and staff can order food and drinks anywhere on campus using a new fleet of self-driving delivery robots.
The futuristic-looking robots are designed by Starship Technologies, which partnered with hospitality company Sodexo to bring the service to GMU — the first college campus to test and use the new technology. have also been rolled out in some California communities, CNET reports.
At GMU, customers can place orders through the Starship Deliveries app to access one of the 25 on-campus robots, which run from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. However, students won't initially be able to order anything they want — deliveries are currently limited to Blaze Pizza, Dunkin' Donuts, Starbucks and Second Stop, an on-campus grocery store. Mark Kraner, the executive director of campus retail operations, said in a press release that more food options will be added to the service over time.
There's a standard delivery fee of $1.99 per order. Each robot can carry up to 20 pounds of food — up to three pizzas, along with a few salads and drinks. Customers don't need to worry about weather conditions affecting their orders because the robots are temperature controlled to keep hot food hot and cold food cold.
The robots are surprisingly quick. They move at about 4 mph, and students can expect deliveries within 30 minutes of ordering. Everything is done through the app — orders can be tracked from start to finish, and customers use it to unlock their food once the robot arrives. Because the robots cannot enter buildings, customers will have to meet them at their doors.
"Being able to get food delivered to me within minutes is going to be fun and convenient," student Jenna Dayton said in the press release. "The lines can get long in between classes, and once you get a table at the library, you don't want to give it up. Not only will this make my life easier as a student, but I'm going to get a visit from a robot!"