Everything you need to know about Starship food delivery robots | Briefs






Starship Technologies has launched its food delivery robot innovation on the UT campus, enabling robots to deliver food and packages to students across campus. Photo taken outside Student Union Square on Thursday March 3, 2022.



It’s official. Robots are taking over the world, one food delivery at a time.

If you’ve been anywhere on campus in the past few weeks, chances are you’ve come across a small robot carrying food alongside you. The delivery company behind the robots, Spatialshipwas originally founded by two Skype co-founders, Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis, who saw the need for more convenient food and package delivery services.

On March 8, the University of Tennessee officially began offering robot deliveries to multiple locations on campus, including popular locations such as Fred D. Brown Hall, Ayres Hall, Neyland Stadium, and many more.

In one video With Senior Drew Hyler, host of UT’s “Drew on the Street” web series, Chancellor Donde Plowman spoke of her pride in being able to provide this advanced resource to students on campus.

UT is one of 20 universities currently offering Starship delivery services, and Plowman believes this innovation, while enabling fast food delivery, also ensures a better overall dining experience for students.

Students will have the option of paying for their food through Starship with Dining Dollars, a VolCard, or a credit card, just as they would at restaurants on campus.

Since their arrival on campus, robots have gained great popularity due to their indescribable cuteness, as well as people’s fascination with the technology behind them.







Spaceship robots

Starship Technologies has launched its food delivery robot innovation on the UT campus, enabling robots to deliver food and packages to students across campus. Photo taken outside Student Union Square on Thursday March 3, 2022.



Sophomore Allison Williams described her first encounter with one of the robots and their prevalence on various social media platforms.

“I was sitting near the Student Union and suddenly I saw this little white robot rushing towards me. At first I was very confused because I had never seen anything about robots before , but after a few weeks I started seeing things about them all over my Instagram,” Williams said.

Not only have the robots been very helpful to students in terms of a wider range of delivery options, but they have also become a media craze among UT students. With videos and posts on UT’s official Instagram pages, as well as memes created by the student body, members of the Knoxville community had fun when the robots arrived.

Starship robots offer a wide range of positive opportunities for students, but they also pose many new foreign challenges.

Lily Monet, barista at Starbucks in Hodges Library, gave her perspective on robots as a food service worker.

“There was definitely a learning curve at the start and it took a second to figure out how to operate the system. However, once we got it, the system worked very well. It definitely adds another task that complicates the job, but it’s worth seeing something innovative and futuristic coming to our school,” said Monet. “The loading process is simple: the order arrives, the labeler prints a label for each item, we pick up and make the items, scan the items, bring them outside to the waiting robots, scan the robot, ‘let’s open, put the food or drinks and the robot does the rest.

“It’s so funny to watch the little things. It’s almost weirdly human, we all think. But it’s so cool to see a little glimpse of what the future of robotics looks like.







Spaceship robots

Starship Technologies has launched its food delivery robot innovation on the UT campus, enabling robots to deliver food and packages to students across campus. The pictured robot is on its way in front of the Haslam Business Building on Thursday, March 3, 2022.



Many have questioned the reliability of robots in terms of avoiding traffic and stolen goods. The robots are made extremely safe with Starship’s advanced technological security measures.

The robots navigate from place to place using satellite images, which determine the best path for the robot to follow for greater efficiency and safety. Each robot has its own specific situational awareness bubble, which involves twelve cameras, sensors and radar to ensure it can avoid obstacles such as cars, animals and pedestrians.

For those worried about their food being stolen, don’t worry. Many have been deterred from attempting to steal the robots due to a high-pitched, squealing noise that is made when unauthorized people attempt to pick them up.

During their nearly 8-year operation, no food has been mistakenly taken from a robot, although there have been numerous attempts.

I decided to try Starship for myself. After seeing a ridiculous amount of robot memes on my Instagram timeline, I couldn’t resist their weirdly human kindness, or their ability to play Beyoncé as they delivered my morning Starbucks order.

I downloaded the much appreciated Spaceship app on my phone, and I was immediately amazed at how easy it was to place an order. Overall, the in-app experience was comparable to Doordash or GrubHub. With picture-filled menus and openly displayed prices, it was easy to decide what I wanted, and I felt like I was in the store ordering normally.

After placing the order for my favorite Starbucks drink – a large cold brew with oat milk – I was quickly alerted that my order was being prepared.

Throughout the process, I received multiple notifications about the status of my order, and once the robot headed to my location, I was able to follow its movements on a map of the campus. , which I appreciated because of my eagerness to receive my order, and my curiosity about the paths of the robots.

After waiting only 22 minutes, I received my order, which was as cold as it would have been if it had just been handed to me. The pickup verification process was a bit tricky at first – which may have been a side effect of my inability to use the technology – but I quickly got the hang of it and was able to collect my order.

My delivery experience was seamless, thanks to Starship’s comprehensive technologies and immense attention to detail in all aspects of the order processing system.

As my delivery robot walked away saying “Go Vols!” I knew Starship technology would now be a crucial part of the UT dining experience.