Fleet of food delivery robots launched at University of Houston

HOUSTON, TEXAS (KTRK) -- The University of Houston welcomed an autonomous food delivery service to campus Monday.

A fleet of 30 Starship autonomous delivery robots can now bring students food in just a matter of minutes.

The recipient can even track the delivery, made to a building's nearest outdoor entrance, in real time.

"This revolutionary delivery method will make it more convenient for the campus community to take advantage of our diverse dining program from anywhere on campus while expanding the hours of operation," said Emily Messa, UH associate vice president for administration.

The university didn't have to spend any money on purchasing the technology, as it is paid for by the customers through a $1.99 delivery fee.

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The robots travel four to six miles per hour and maneuver mainly on sidewalks using numerous sensors, cameras, and an obstacle detection system to find their way and avoid collisions.

Watch the food delivery service robot in action on campus!
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The next generation of food delivery right at UH? Watch how the food delivery service robot works on campus!

According to the maker, Starship Technologies, the robots stay locked until the customer opens them with a command from their mobile phone.

Customers can order food to be delivered from 11 different UH dining locations through the Starship Deliveries app.

The app allows users to watch the robot's journey to them through an interactive map.

The robots can cross streets, climb curbs, travel at night and operate in both rain and snow.

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For security purposes, the robots have a tracking system that works to the nearest inch, and sirens, in the event anyone tries to steal them.

"This increases our capacity to reach more customers, and I expect the robots will quickly become part of campus life," said David Riddle, Chartwells resident district manager.

"Robot delivery will also grow opportunities for UH Dining employees by increasing service hours and growing sales. It has also created additional jobs for students dedicated specifically to servicing the autonomous robots. It's an important advancement for foodservice at UH," Riddle added.

There were more than 100 deliveries in the first hour the service was launched, with some people waiting up to 45 minutes for their food.

You don't have to be a UH student to use the robotic service, as long as you are on campus.

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