COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) — When students living on the University of South Carolina campus order food delivery on the Grubhub app, a robot may deliver it to them.
University of Southern California President Michael Amiridis said the Starship robot is the first of its kind to be used in the state and is intended to minimize wait times at campus dining locations.
Multiple cameras attached to the robot and digital mapping of the university will help the robot navigate the campus effectively and safely.
“I think it’s fun and I think the students are excited to see this. We always talk about our students being the future, but this is the future that our students also face. And I think they’re excited about it,” Amiridis said.
So how do they work?
“Most students already have the Grubhub app on their phones. All they have to do is log into Grubhub, click the delivery tab, and they’ll see 11 restaurants that offer Starship delivery. They place their order as usual, make the transaction, and receive a code that tells them when the robot is leaving. Just like Uber or Grubhub, they can track the robot and see how far it is. And when the robot comes to them, it can scan the code and open the lid and take out the food,” explained Farren Alston, USC’s director of food service marketing. Masu.
The robot, which returns to the warehouse each night to charge, is not owned by USC but is the result of a partnership between the university, Starship, Grubhub and USC’s food provider, Aramark.
But aren’t robots and artificial intelligence taking jobs away from humans? Amiridis says they are actually creating them, and USC is creating services that have never existed before. A human is still needed to load food into the robot’s abdomen.
When it comes to safety, Alston believes both humans and robots can coexist without any problems.
“One of the really cool things we’ve seen with the spaceship robots is that the gamecocks are very protective of these robots, so they’re always on the lookout for the robots. There are cameras around the robots. There are a lot of technological advancements inside the robot, as there is a lot of mapping and work being done to make it able to effectively navigate large campuses like the University of Southern California, which has large student populations. This allows you to move through the crowd and reach the delivery location well enough.”
USC Business Affairs Director Joe Fortune believes this is just the beginning.
“Now that we have had the opportunity to collect student feedback and collect data, we hope to grow the program in the future,” he says.
According to teachers, the school currently has 20 robots and plans to introduce 40 more.