Starship deploys autonomous delivery bots on a college campus

Starship, an autonomous delivery robot startup, is deploying its first batch of robots as part of a commercial service. Starting today, Starship will begin delivering food to the 40,000 students, faculty and staff at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. in partnership with Sodexo, a food and facilities management company.

Starship says the deliveries take 15 minutes or less, on average, depending on which items the customer ordered and where they’re located on campus. Each robot can carry up to 20 pounds of food.

“University dining programs are evolving their strategies to meet this generation’s elevated expectations, such as better quality, variety and service delivery,” said Sodexo CEO of Universities East Jim Jenkins in a press release. “George Mason University’s culture of innovation and early adoption makes it the perfect campus for Sodexo and Starship to introduce this cutting-edge technology and enhance the campus experience for the entire school community.”

At launch, there will be 25 bots roaming around campus delivering food from Blaze Pizza, Starbucks, Dunkin’ and other food retailers. Each on-demand delivery will cost $1.99.

To date, Starship’s robots have completed more than 25,000 deliveries. Back in October, Starship began delivering packages to residents in the U.K. town of Milton Keynes.

Starship has also previously partnered with on-demand food delivery companies like DoorDash and Postmates to test out its robot delivery service. Last January, Starship partnered with the companies mentioned above for a pilot program in Redwood City, Calif. and Washington, D.C. What makes this deployment at George Mason unique is that it’s Starship’s first truly commercial deployment of autonomous food delivery.

In June, Starship raised $25 million from Matrix Partners and Morpheus Ventures. New investors included Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk, Skype founding engineer Jaan Tallinn and others. Starship has raised $42.2 million in total.