Food robot pilot testing begins on lower campus

Starship+Technologies+announced+Tuesday+that+its+food+robots+have+begun+completing+deliveries+to+students+on+lower+campus.+
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Food robot pilot testing begins on lower campus

Starship Technologies announced Tuesday that its food robots have begun completing deliveries to students on lower campus.

Starship Technologies announced Tuesday that its food robots have begun completing deliveries to students on lower campus.

Thomas Yang | Assistant Visual Editor

Starship Technologies announced Tuesday that its food robots have begun completing deliveries to students on lower campus.

Thomas Yang | Assistant Visual Editor

Thomas Yang | Assistant Visual Editor

Starship Technologies announced Tuesday that its food robots have begun completing deliveries to students on lower campus.

By Erica Guthrie, Assistant News Editor

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Starship Technologies announced Tuesday that its food robots, which have already been seen around Oakland in their pilot phase, have begun completing deliveries to students on lower campus.

Students can now order delivery from the fleet of 25 bots via Starship’s app for a flat delivery fee of $1.99. At launch time, students could order from the Forbes Street Market, Sub Connection in the William Pitt Union or Common Grounds in Towers Lobby.

As of Tuesday, orders can only be paid for via credit or debit card, but Pitt Dining said in a tweet that they were looking to expand payment options soon to include Dining Dollars, Panther Funds and Lunch Money.

Testing launched in October but was briefly paused starting Oct. 21 after Emily Ackerman, a graduate student who uses a wheelchair, posted a complaint on Twitter that she was “trapped” by one of the robots. Testing resumed Friday after Starship said Ackerman was able to travel “past the robot without stopping.”

Currently, the delivery bots only serve lower campus, but at a community meeting in August, David Catania, the head of government affairs for Starship Technologies, said they may expand to other parts of the City in the future.

“At the moment, it’s primarily the University … we are open to going beyond that, but we want to be respectful to the City and introduce it slowly and in a measured way that increases the comfort level,” Catania said.

Pitt and Starship said in a joint statement that the pilot phase is a continuation of the testing that resumed Friday.

“We encourage feedback during this additional testing as we move toward the launch of the delivery service,” the statement said. “Other payment options are still being finalized so the full launch is pending.

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