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Food delivery robots launched on Notre Dame campus

| Wednesday, February 8, 2023

The sidewalks just got a little more crowded.

Starting Wednesday morning, students, faculty and staff could order food through the Grubhub app and have it delivered via a food robot. The University partnered with Starship Technologies and Grubhub to bring a fleet of 30 robots — complete with tall, bright orange flags — to campus.

At the launch, the robots deliver from six campus locations: Au Bon Pain, Garbanzo, The Gilded Bean, Hagerty Family Cafe, Modern Market and Taco Bell. To order, diners can open the Grubhub app and select delivery, then choose any on-campus restaurant labeled “Offers Robot Delivery.”

After ordering, diners can watch their robot travel across campus on an interactive map. When the robot arrives, the Grubhub app sends a notification to meet and unlock the robot.

By spring, the University expects the fleet to expand to 50 robots and offer delivery from more campus dining locations. 

Grubhub and Starship Technologies began this collaboration in the fall of 2022, when University Enterprises and Events worked with Starship to map delivery routes across campus. The robots travel these routes at a walking pace, and each is equipped with cameras to detect obstacles.

“We know the campus community will appreciate the convenience of on-demand deliveries, whether it’s to save time or to avoid some of the seasonal weather,” said Chris Neider, vice president for business development at Starship Technologies, in a press release Wednesday. “The robots don’t mind the weather, regardless of rain, sleet or snow.”

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