Starship Technologies is bringing food delivery robots to four more US college campuses this year ' TechCrunch

Starship Technologies, an autonomous delivery company, announced it will start delivery service on four additional college campuses in the fall. This is in addition to the 20 that it currently operates.The Estonian-born company's tiny six-wheeled, zero-emissions delivery robotics will grace the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC), University of Kentucky (UK), University of Nevada Reno (UNR), and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Daytona Beach campus in Florida.This announcement is made the same day that Kiwibot, an autonomous sidewalk delivery robot company has partnered up with Sodexo for food delivery to college campuses. Starship will be able to deliver food to campus merchants such as Panera Bread and Panda Express, while Kiwibot will be focusing more on delivery from university shops and dining halls. Despite the differences in approaches, the result is the same. Delivery companies are gearing up for a normal school year even though the Delta version continues to increase its case load. This could be either a blessing for Starships or Kiwibots around the globe. More Rona could mean more students staying in and avoiding human contact. It could also lead to school closures and useless bots.In a statement, Dean Kennedy, UNR's executive director of residential, housing, and food services, stated that Starship robots are an important tool in safely bringing students back on campus. We want everyone to be able to return to campus and resume their classes in person. Therefore, we are doing all that we can to ensure it happens responsibly. Robots have many advantages. They make social distancing more manageable, they are convenient, students love them, and they help us continue our tradition of being innovative campuses.UIC will receive 25 Starship robots, UNR and Embry-Riddle each will get 20 robots. This adds to Starships fleet that includes over 1,000 delivery robots. Since its inception in 2014, the company claims it has completed over 1.5 million rides. The company has raised $102 million in total, which includes the $17 million recent funding round.Starship CEO Alastair Westgarth stated that Starship has worked hard to be a trusted and integrated partner in our campus communities. Each semester we add schools, and more will be announced in the fall. Robots are a hit with students and schools alike. We are eager to meet students from these schools, and we look forward to hiring students to gain real-world experience with AI and robots on all campuses.Faculty and students will be able download Starship Food Delivery to order meals, and drop a pin to request delivery. The app allows them to track the robot, or wait for an alert so they can go outside and meet it once it arrives. Once it is unlocked, they can unlock the app. Starship claims it will train and hire local students interested in learning more about autonomous technology and joining the team.