Relatively controlled The campus environment has long served as an ideal testing ground for autonomous technologies, and they have proven particularly effective for sidewalk delivery robots.
As the latest step in bringing autonomous delivery to college campuses, food delivery platform Grubhub and sidewalk delivery robots Cartken were launched early last week. general plans will bring 50 food delivery robots to Ohio State University this fall. An expansion of their spring semester pilot project of 15 bots. It is planned that by the end of the school year, about 100 Cartken robots will deliver goods around OSU.
The geofenced closed environment allows companies to test higher levels of autonomy as there are fewer edge cases and complex scenarios such as busy intersections. And campuses usually have neatly paved sidewalks, perfect for the small wheels of delivery robots.
As more universities in the United States gradually become home to such robots, they are discovering that bots are more than just a neat new feature designed to quench students’ thirst or stimulate their willingness to welcome innovation. Universities are now relying on bots both to address labor shortages and to explore new business opportunities such as delivery-only kitchens, commonly referred to as “ghost kitchens”.
“When you think about it, almost every kitchen in the modern world is a ghost kitchen, because now every restaurant works with delivery.” Ziya Ahmed, Senior Director, Food Service Division, OSU
“Universities are starting to see an opportunity to combine this multi-restaurant management concept with a manufacturing plant and tie it to robotics. This allows them to select a central point on campus that is operationally or logistically beneficial, and then build a whole set of virtual restaurants that can only be delivered by robots,” Benjamin Anderson, Grubhub’s director of campus business development, told TechCrunch.
Universities are no strangers to autonomous delivery robots, but startups are now steadily increasing their presence on campus sidewalks.
Grubhub is only expanding its previous work with its new plans – the company previously worked with OSU and Arizona State University to deploy autonomous rovers from Russian Internet company Yandex. They were popular with students, people involved said, but Grubhub, like many Western companies that fear the taint of war, left this partnership when Russia invaded Ukraine.
This, however, is Kartken’s first foray into university teaching. Earlier this year the startup in partnership with Mitsubishi for delivery to certain shopping malls in Japan, and work with RIF Technology deliver from haunted kitchens in downtown Miami.
Bigger rival Starship Technologies, arguably the leader in space, has been deploying robots on campuses for years. Startup that lasts raised $42 million in December, operates at 30 colleges across the US and will announce new partnerships in the coming months, the company said.
Credit: techcrunch.com /