George Mason University (GMU) students now have access to a new, futuristic way to order food. As of January 22nd, the Fairfax, VA school became the first university in the country to offer robotic food deliveries as part of its student dining plan.
Through a partnership with the food services company Sodexo, and the robotics company Starship Technologies, GMU now has a fleet of 25 robots, each capable of carrying up to 20 lbs of food across campus.
The robots will be stored in pods across campus, where batteries will be automatically replaced with no human involvement. For a delivery fee of $1.99, students will be able to order from the on campus food distributors: Blaze Pizza, Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, and Second Stop, an on-campus grocery store. All students need to do to order is to simply open up the Starship Deliveries app, put a pin down where they want to meet the robot, and pick their food up. Robots can operate in inclement weather, cross streets, and even mount curbs.
“Our goal is to make life a little bit easier for students,” said Ryan Tuohy, SVP of Starship Technologies. “Whether that means skipping the line, eating lunch on the lawn rather than in the cafe, or finding the time to eat better when studying for exams. Commuter students can even meet the robot on their way into class. We look forward to seeing how our service will help and support the daily lives and community of students and educators at George Mason University.”