Would you accept food from a robot? One Central New York institute has rolled out a new delivery service that has students buzzing.

This new delivery fleet was made possible by the magic of GrubHub and Starship Technologies.

Delivery on Wheels

A new fleet of adorable robots have rolled onto the SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Marcy to help bring food to hungry students and teachers.

The Central New York Business Journal reports students can now enjoy their futuristic delivery service when they order food from the student center, which houses Utica Coffee, Wildcat Grill, Limon & Chile, and 400 Acre Café.

Anyone on the SUNY Polytechnic Institute campus can summon these robotic delivery workers by using the Grubhub app.


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All they need to do is choose their food or drink and then tell the robot where to find them. Customers can then track their delivery in real time and will receive an alert when they can pick up their order.

Marybeth Lyons, VP for student affairs, celebrated the new service in a press release:

At SUNY Poly, we actively look for ways to enhance the student experience. The response from students to the robots’ presence on campus and the new service has been overwhelmingly positive. I applaud the hard work of our Auxiliary Services and Wildcat Hospitality teams in forging this new partnership with Starship Technologies and Grubhub, which only adds to our campus’ culture of innovation.

This is the latest college to add such a delivery service.

 Other institutes using this service include Wayne State University, the University of Kentucky, and Fairfield University.

How the Robots Work

The delivery robots look almost like a white cooler on wheels. The little device is equipped with an attention-grabbing flag to increase its visibility.

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John Phillips/Getty Images for JUST EAT

The delivery robots are infused with cutting edge technology that's designed to tell them where to go, avoid obstacles and keep the food they're carting around safe and at a perfect temperature.

The robots can travel up to 4 miles per hour and can carry roughly 20 pounds. Their wheels can also be lifted and angled to help get the container over bumps and curbs.

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These robots have about 10 different cameras installed on them, as well as ultrasonic sensors, which grants them 360-degree vision and the ability to avoid bumping into obstacles, like people or potholes.

The robots also have GPS navigation and can chat with one another, effectively helping their hivemind construct a collaborative map of their delivery area.

These robots are also autonomous, meaning no one is pulling the strings behind the curtain. However, if these machines do encounter a problem, an operator can remote in and take control of the robot to help it get back on track.

Check out Starship's informative video below for more details:

The Future of Delivery?

These robots are being hailed as a step toward a new future in how food is delivered.


These robots have already made over 5 million deliveries worldwide and have traveled many millions of miles.

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Leon Neal/Getty Images

Starship isn't slowing down, either, and they plan on partnering with more colleges for this new service.

In addition, several cities have opened the doors to allowing autonomous robots deliver food.

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Starship VP of Business Development Chris Neider said this partnership with Suny Poly is a step toward a more exciting future:

We always love bringing our Starship robots to schools that really embrace technology, and SUNY Poly is certainly one of those schools. We think the campus community will enjoy seeing our autonomous delivery technology on a daily basis and will also appreciate the convenience of on-demand delivery, especially as the colder weather starts.

So keep your eyes peeled for these little machines. It seems like we'll be seeing a lot more of them in the future.

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