Fairfield University will offer robotic food delivery

Some college students are getting a new dining option this semester: robot delivery.

Fairfield University is the first local college to partner with meal delivery service Grubhub and a robotics company called Starship Technologies to autonomously deliver food anywhere on campus.

“They will deliver to the front doors of almost every building on campus,” university spokeswoman Susan Cipollaro said. “The guest meets the bot in the designated area, unlocks the bot with their phone, and collects their order.”

“The only places they can’t deliver are buildings without sidewalks,” she said.

Six-wheeled robots look like a moving cooler, which they essentially are. A small orange flag at the top makes the devices easier to see.

According to a statement, the robots use machine learning, artificial intelligence and sensors to navigate around obstacles. Robots can cross streets, climb sidewalks, move at night, and operate in rain and snow.

Fairfield University isn’t the first university in the United States to offer robotic food delivery, but it is the first in the Northeast.

“Fairfield University is thrilled to partner with Starship and Grubhub – our official mobile food ordering and delivery partner – on this innovative robot delivery initiative,” said Matthew Dinnan, Assistant Vice President/ auxiliary services.

Travis Price, senior director of campus strategic partnerships at Grubhub, said bots are an example of how orders are changing.

“The dining experience has changed tremendously over the years, and we’re excited to continue to provide innovative solutions for campus partners like Fairfield University and its students to be their go-to supplier for all meals,” a- he declared. “This type of delivery can reach places on campus that have traditionally been difficult for cars to navigate, making it even more convenient for students to have their favorite foods delivered wherever they are on campus.