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Grubhub rolls out delivery robots at colleges nationwide

Grubhub Starship delivery robot
A Grubhub Starship delivery robot.

Students at college campuses across the U.S. will be able to get digital food orders delivered via robot.

Online and mobile food-ordering and delivery platform Grubhub is partnering with autonomous delivery robot provider Starship Technologies to enable robotic deliveries at multiple colleges. Currently, Grubhub delivery is available via Starship robot at the University of Kentucky, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), Wayne State University, Southern Methodist University, and Fairfield University.

The service will be available at other college campuses later in 2022. More than 170,000 students in all will have access to robot deliveries across these campuses. Starship's zero-emission robots can travel up to 4 mph, carry the equivalent of three bags of groceries and operate in various weather conditions, including rain and snow.

Grubhub partners with more than 250 college campuses across the U.S. to give students the ability to integrate meal plans directly into their Grubhub account and access restaurants both on- and off-campus for delivery and pickup.

The on-demand delivery platform is also partnering with self-driving, AI-powered robotics provider Cartken to bring robot delivery to students at Ohio State University. Cartken robots are designed to navigate pavements, crosswalks and pedestrian paths within the campus area without human guidance. The robots use Cartken's artificial intelligence (AI) and camera-based navigation and mapping technology, which the company developed for small autonomous vehicles to safely operate around pedestrians.

And Grubhub previously teamed up with the autonomous vehicle subsidiary of European Internet firm Yandex to roll out delivery via Yandex robots at Ohio State. The Yandex robots autonomously navigate pavements, campus crosswalks, and pedestrian areas at speeds between three to five miles per hour during daytime and after dark.

"Robot delivery solves the unique challenges of accessing hard-to-reach areas that come from operating on a college campus," said Adam Herbert, senior director of campus partnerships at Grubhub. "With Starship's robots, students can enjoy a fun, new way to order their favorite meals right to their door—whether that be the library, their dorm, academic hall or another campus building. Offering this type of delivery further improves the Grubhub dining experience as we continue to provide innovative solutions for students and our campus partners."

"We're excited to partner with Grubhub on such a diverse and exciting roster of schools as we've worked hard to become a trusted and integrated partner on our campus communities," said Alastair Westgarth, CEO of Starship Technologies. "Over 90% of students say that Starship robots are helpful and convenient, so we are looking forward to bringing our service to more students across the country."

"Fairfield University is thrilled to partner with Starship and Grubhub—our official mobile food-ordering and delivery partner—on this innovative robot delivery initiative," said Matt Dinnan, assistant VP of auxiliary services at Fairfield University. "As the first college in the Northeast to roll out this technology, our campus is already buzzing with enthusiasm about the new robotic pick-up and delivery service option that will no doubt enhance the student experience here at Fairfield."

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