College students are hardly strangers to midnight snacking, and will often make late night forays to pick up pizza, frozen yogurt and more. But not every college campus is opening its doors this fall, and those that do are making accommodations for social distancing due to Covid-19. That's where robots come into play, autonomous coolers on wheels that can go from a restaurant to someone's door, without putting people in each other's presence.
There are a number that have been hard at work, even through the pandemic, with others making heavy inroads on college sites.
Here are where robots have already started delivering food at universities, or college towns, prior to the impact of the coronavirus. If schools in these locations do open, these robots could be able to serve up study hall snacks this coming fall too.
Bowling Green State University
Near this Bowling Green, Ohio campus? You can have Starbucks coffee, donuts, Panda Express and even a few groceries delivered to your door, courtesy of Starship Technologies robots. The service takes anywhere from seven to 49 minutes to get to you — depending on what you order. Bowling Green State University also plans to re-open for the fall of 2020.
Starship delivery robots at George Mason University Starship
George Mason University
The Fairfax, Virginia school has had robots up and running to deliver food since January 2019. Orders are placed through Starship Technologies app, and include options for salads, burgers, doughnuts and even sushi from different restaurants and food chains. Right now, the app says the service is closed for this summer. But the robots are expected to be running again this fall, when the school is expected to resume with a hybrid of in-person and remote classes.
Northern Arizona University
Robots are available to deliver pizza, burgers, coffee and more from a number of vendors across this university in Flagstaff, Arizona. Northern Arizona University plans to open early, on August 12, for its fall semester.
University of Mississippi
Famously known as Ole Miss, robots (yes, through Starship Technologies) roam around the campus delivering food from the Ole Miss Dining Services. People can get salads, sandwiches, Starbucks coffee, bagels and more. The Oxford, Mississippi university is planning to re-open with a modified academic schedule for the fall of 2020.
University of Pittsburgh
This Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania school has robots that can bring food from chains including Taco Bell and Einstein Bros Bagel to smaller shops that serve salads, sandwiches and snacks. The University of Pittsburgh — and its robots — are expected to resume for the fall 2020.
From dumplings to pizza, robots from Starship Technologies can deliver meals to students across this West Lafayette, Indiana campus. The robots are turned off for the summer, but Purdue University is planing for students to return to campus for the fall 2020, along with the autonomous delivery service.
University of Houston
Robots delivering food at the University of Houston in Texas aren't currently working. The University also hasn't issued firm guidance on whether it will open its doors or not for the Fall 2020. If its doors to do open, students will be able to make use of the robots to deliver everything from burgers to BBQ, and even breakfast.
Robots are on pause, but are expected to return to the University of Wisconsin-Madison this fall Getty Images
University of Wisconsin-Madison
While most of the students were sent home, the robots remained working and were delivering food to those who were still living in dorms. The robots, from Starship Technologies (yes, again) are currently on pause for the summer for most vendors, but the University of Wisconsin-Madison is planning to have students return to campus starting September 2, 2020, when they'll be able to order pizza, stir fries, coffee and more right to their door.
The University of Texas at Dallas
Starship Technologies robots showed up in January 2020 at the University of Texas at Dallas, delivering food from 10 different food court locations including smoothies, burgers, gyros and pizza. While they're on break for the summer, the robots are expected to be up and running come fall, as the university does plan to open for the fall 2020 semester.
Unsure of status
University of the Pacific
In 2019, PepsiCo teamed up with Robby Technologies to bring robots to this Stockton, California campus delivering tea, potato chips and Starbucks coffee. Order were placed through the Snackbot app, which does not appear to be available in the App Store at this time.
Arizona State University
On Starship's app, this school in Tempe, Arizona is expected to have robots available soon. Arizona State University currently plans to re-open in the fall 2020, with its semester starting August 20.
Robots from Kiwibot have delivered around UC Berkeley in the past Getty Images
University of California at Berkeley
Kiwibot is a robot service that made deliveries in Berkeley, California, and near the University of California at Berkeley, where it's based. Kiwi robots are actually rentable, at $20 a robot, plus a licensing fee per order. Berkeley plans to have a hybrid solution this fall, with some classes in-person and some remote. We reached out to Kiwi to see if the robots would be contenting to work in the area, and will update this story when they respond.
James Madison University
This Harrisburg, Virginia university has a page in Starship Technologies app — but every food offering is grayed out, making it impossible to see what could be order by its robots. The school itself is planning to open in the fall of 2020, and perhaps the food delivery service will be live by then as well.
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