STATESBORO, Ga. (WTOC) - A team of motorized robots could soon become a common site around Georgia Southern. They’ll deliver meals with contactless delivery.
The idea of robotic deliveries on a university campus might have seemed like a novelty less than a year ago. But, with COVID-19, it could become as vital a piece of PPE as your mask.
It may look like a picnic cooler on wheels. But these new robots will soon navigate the Statesboro campus better than some freshmen.
The Starship robots will be able to carry food and drinks from cafeterias or snack shops to almost anywhere. Southern's Auxiliary Services already had a deal to bring these here before the university closed campuses back in March.
“Our goal was always to have it ready by the Fall. Naturally, our feeling of “need” increased significantly when this all came about,” said Jeff Yawn with GSU Auxiliary Services.
Southern becomes the 13th university to have these and the first one in the South. It's more than just a radio controlled container.
“They’re about 99 percent autonomous. The robots work on their own. We do have operators sitting in front of the computers, seeing through the robot’s eyes,” Starship Robots Expansion Manager Kia Alborz said.
He says they'll start with 20 robots. They actually learn the routes and any obstacles along the way and adapt to avoid them. They figure each delivery helps lessen the traffic and crowds in some of the campus' busiest places.
“Anything we can do to alleviate the lines the students encounter, absolutely. It helps us serve the guests.”
They’ll test the first batch in Statesboro. If all goes well, they’ll expand and some on the Armstrong campus.