Robot food delivery service launches at Wayne State University

Posted at 9:50 PM, Sep 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-10 01:28:43-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Robot delivery is now available on the campus of Wayne State University.

The service through Grubhub just launched this week, and the school says its the first university in Michigan to bring automated delivery to campus.

“I like them," WSU sophomore Aloni Brantley said. "I didn’t know what they were when I first came on campus.”

“Interesting? Kind of weird that it comes from this moving robot,” Wayne State senior Jenna Steele said. “They're definitely cool, something new in Midtown.”

The service just launched on Tuesday and delivers from a handful of university-affiliated restaurants. Students use their phone to place an order and when it arrives, they use their phone again to unlock the compartment and get their order.

“We're in the early stages, but I've seen a lot of excitement," Alex Mackenzie with Wayne State Dining Services said. "People use it, ask a lot of questions.”

Mackenzie says the robots have mapped out campus and can adjust to traffic patterns and construction, navigating their way around bumps in the road.

“It's smart enough to know when to stop at a stoplight, when a human is coming, a bike is coming, all of those things,” Mackenzie said.

7 Action News saw a few interactions where the robot stops to find a way around people, even moving for a police car after a few honks of the horn. When its path was obstructed by a temporary stage, it paused to find a way around it.

“They are interesting for sure," WSU sophomore Aaron Morrison said. "Funny seeing them interact with people walking around campus.”

It’s only a few days old and a few orders in, but the Starship robot is now off and rolling toward a new future in campus delivery.

“Additional flexibility, and we also want to continue to push the envelope on innovation,” Mackenzie said.