The 40,000 students, faculty, and staff of George Mason University in Fairfax, VA are celebrating this week with the deployment of Starship’s first batch of food-delivering robots. The autonomous delivery robot start-up has partnered up with Sodexo, a food and facilities management company, to create robots for commercial services.
These little hunks of metal can carry up to 20 pounds of food in just 15 minutes or less, depending on what the items are and where they are being delivered.
In a press release, the Sodexo CEO of Universities East Jim Jenkins said, “University dining programs are evolving their strategies to meet this generation’s elevated expectations, such as better quality, variety and service delivery. George Mason University’s culture of innovation and early adoption makes it the perfect campus for Sodexo and Starship to introduce this cutting-edge technology and enhance the campus experience for the entire school community.”
Starship is releasing 25 bots on the campus to start, each delivery costing $1.99; they’ll wander about the campus, ready to receive orders, pick up, and deliver items from Starbucks, Blaze Pizza, Dunkin’, and other restaurants.
The robots began delivering in Milton Keynes, a residential town in the U.K., last October. So far, they’ve completed over 25,000 deliveries!
Starship began experimenting with the help of other food-delivery companies like DoorDash and Postmates as they perfected their invention, partnering with them to begin a food-delivery program in Redwood City, CA as well as Washington, D.C. Now, for the first time on their own, they are pioneering an independent program at George Mason.
The founders of Skype and Airbnb – Jaan Tallinn and Nathan Blecharczyk – have invested in Starship along with many others. From Matrix Partners and Morpheus Ventures, Starship was able to raise $25 million in June.