Starship Technologies is going back to school on four new college campuses

a starship delivery pod moves through a crowd of students
Starship Technologies have established itself as a viable, autonomous delivery solution on campus. | Image credit: Starship Technologies

Starship Technologies announced today that it will begin delivery service on four additional college campuses this fall (2021): University of Illinois Chicago (UIC), University of Kentucky (UK), University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Daytona Beach, FL campus. These campuses join the list of college campuses across the US where Starship robots will continue to provide deliveries this fall with its global fleet of over 1,000 robots.

All of these universities are the first in their respective states to offer autonomous on-demand robot delivery service to their campus communities. The service has already started with an initial set of merchants and hours at UNR and Embry-Riddle and will be fully operational when students return for classes. Service will begin at University of Kentucky on August 16 and become fully operational when classes begin a week later. Service is expected to begin at UIC this fall.

Details on the service include:

  • UIC: 25 robots, with 11 merchants including Starbucks, Panda Express and Freshii
  • UK: 20 robots, starting with 7 merchants including Starbucks, Subway and Auntie Anne’s
  • UNR: 20 robots, with 14 merchants including Panera Bread, Habit Burger and Baja Fresh
  • Embry-Riddle: 20 robots, with 10 merchants including Starbucks, QDOBA, Flight Cafe and Legacy Walk Wings Food Truck

“We’re excited to welcome such a diverse and exciting roster of schools to our service,” said Alastair Westgarth, CEO of Starship Technologies. “We’ve worked hard to become a trusted and integrated partner on our campus communities and that hard work has paid off. We are continuing to add new schools every semester, with more to be announced this fall. The students love the robots and the schools appreciate the ability to offer this service. We can’t wait to meet the students at each of these schools and look forward to hiring students on all of the campuses to give them real world experience working with robots and AI.”

College students quickly embraced Starship’s delivery robots when they began service at George Mason University in Virginia in January 2019. The popularity has continued to increase with Starship’s service now available across nearly 20 different campuses in 15 states. Starship also plays a key role in helping ensure laws are in place for the safe operation of personal delivery devices, which are now authorized to operate in more than 50 percent of US states.

“We see the Starship robots as an important part of safely bringing students back to campus,” said Dean Kennedy, executive director of Residential Life, Housing and Food Services at University of Nevada, Reno. “Everyone wants to resume in-person classes and be back on campus so we’re doing everything we can to make sure it’s done responsibly. The robots offer several advantages – they make social distancing easier, they are convenient, the students we have spoken with love this idea and they continue our heritage of being an innovative campus.”

student taking food from starship pod
Students can order and receive deliveries conveniently from just about anywhere on campus. | Image credit: Starship Technologies

“I never thought I’d be sharing sidewalks with a robot when I thought about going to college but they feel right at home with the coming age of innovation and technology,” said Johan Restrepo, a student at Embry-Riddle. “It seems really futuristic yet completely normal at the same time. It’s always fun to see them traveling around campus and having the option to get food delivered is a huge bonus that my friends and I can’t get enough of!”

According to Westgarth, “Starship was an essential service for many students during the pandemic. We consistently broke delivery records, even with fewer students on campus. We heard from so many students about how much they appreciated the service, how the robots made their time on campus seem ‘more normal’ and how they helped brighten their moods during a really difficult time.”

The Starship Food Delivery app is available for download on iOS and Android. To get started, users choose from a range of their favorite food or drink items, then drop a pin where they want their delivery to be sent. They can then watch as the robot makes its journey to them, via an interactive map. Once the robot arrives, they receive an alert, and can then meet and unlock it through the app.

Delivery hours vary at the participating campus restaurants and payment options include credit and debit cards and the student meal plan. At each campus location, local students are hired and trained to join the Starship team.

Starship Technologies operates commercially on a daily basis around the world. Its zero-emission robots have made more than 1.6 million autonomous deliveries, travelled millions of miles and make more than 80,000 road crossings every day.

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Written by

Mike Oitzman

Mike Oitzman is Senior Editor of WTWH's Robotics Group, cohost of The Robot Report Podcast, and founder of the Mobile Robot Guide. Oitzman is a robotics industry veteran with 25-plus years of experience at various high-tech companies in the roles of marketing, sales and product management. He can be reached at