Campus dining just got more interesting at the University of Arizona.
The university is partnering with on-demand delivery provider is teaming up with Grubhub and Yandex Self-Driving Group to provide Yandex robot delivery technology, also called rovers, on its campus. Students will be able to order food items from on-campus dining locations, including IQ Fresh, Einstein Bros. Bagels, On Deck Deli, and Sabor, via the Grubhub on-demand app and have it delivered by one of the rovers.
Yandex's new third-generation robots autonomously navigate pavements, campus crosswalks, and pedestrian areas at speeds between three to five miles per hour during daytime and after dark, as well as in various weather conditions, including rain, wind and heat. The rovers operate seven days a week, and students can request delivery to locations on campus including the dormitories, Main and Weaver library, and McKale Center.
Other features of the new third-generation robots include removable batteries, additional cameras, a new design that provides increased robot capacity, LED headlights, and softer suspension designed to make it easier for the robots to traverse challenging terrain, such as high curbs.
Grubhub and Yandex Self-Driving Group also recently teamed up with Ohio State University to roll out delivery via Yandex robots. Students there can order food items from on-campus dining locations via the Grubhub app and have them delivered by one of 50 Yandex robots operating at the campus.
Autonomous robots are becoming an increasingly popular means of facilitating on-demand food delivery. Amazon pioneered remotely operated delivery robots with its 2019 pilot of the six-wheeled Scout device in Washington state, which it followed up with a pilot in California.
Other retailers that have since tested four- and six-wheeled robotic delivery vehicles include Safeway and SaveMart. The concept is now widespread enough to even reach smaller, local retailers. Urban Value Corner Store, which operates stores in and around the Dallas area, is partnering with e-commerce solution provider Vroom Delivery and last-mile robot technology specialist Tortoise to offer on-demand delivery of thousands of products in the coming months.
"We've been working with the University of Arizona's dining team on efforts that drive the dining experience forward for the last eight years – from rolling out on-campus pickup and delivery to smart food lockers and our Ultimate ordering technology," said Travis Price, senior manager, strategic partnerships at Grubhub. "The deployment of this robot delivery technology is an exciting way we're providing innovative solutions to our partners, and we look forward to continuing to support the university's dining operations."
"Our ongoing partnership with Grubhub, and now Yandex, continues to strengthen and bring cool new innovation to our campus," said Todd Millay, executive director of Arizona Student Unions. "We're lucky to be the second school in the nation to launch with Grubhub's new robot delivery service, and we can't wait for our students to enjoy the convenience of this amazing technology."
"We are excited to see just how quickly autonomous delivery robots are becoming an essential part of campus life," said Peter Szelei, business development executive at Yandex Self-Driving Group. “Our robots are already delivering thousands of orders every week on college campuses -- simplifying the daily lives of students, professors and anyone spending time on college campuses. The University of Arizona campus will feature our newly launched third-generation robots, and we hope the students will enjoy them."
Grubhub is part of the Just Eat Takeaway.com global online food delivery platform and works with more than 300,000 restaurant partners in over 4,000 U.S. cities. the autonomous vehicle subsidiary of European Internet company Yandex Self-Driving Group is the autonomous vehicle subsidiary of European Internet company Yandex.