Kiwibot, campus dining delivery robots, arrive at USI for start of Fall Semester
August 18, 2023
University of Southern Indiana students won’t be the only ones strolling campus sidewalks this fall. Kiwibots, affordable, autonomous food service delivery robots, will be buzzing along campus routes, too, busy serving the University community through the Grubhub app. USI’s fleet of 15 robots will launch Monday, August 21, coinciding with the first day of USI’s Fall Semester.
"Sodexo, the University's food service partner, has consistently shown exceptional dedication in ensuring our USI community’s voice is collectively heard regarding food service on campus," says Steve Bridges, Vice President for Finance and Administration. "The introduction of Kiwibot robots on campus exemplifies Sodexo's ongoing commitment to meeting the unique wants and needs of our community."
Kiwibot robots use artificial intelligence to navigate campus sidewalks without human intervention. They will deliver to all areas of campus accessible by sidewalk, including campus housing. Robot operating hours will align with campus dining location hours and are available seven days a week. All Kiwibot orders will be placed in the Grubhub app, and a $3 delivery fee will be applied per order.
"We are thrilled to continually collaborate with Grubhub and Kiwibot in expanding our range of delivery options for the University community,” says Rebecca Diamond, Director of Dining Services. “The introduction of Kiwibot robots will revolutionize convenience for our busy students and employees.”
To get started, users open the Grubhub app, choose from a range of items available at select campus dining locations and then select robot delivery at checkout. Once their order is placed, diners can track the robot’s journey through an interactive map. Once the robot arrives, they receive an alert and can access the items by unlocking through the app. The delivery usually takes just a matter of minutes, depending on the menu items ordered and the distance the robot must travel.
“Having Kiwibot robots on campus gives our students a chance to see and interact with innovation beyond the classroom,” Bridges says. “The robots are a direct reflection of our modern campus which continues to evolve.”
To ensure safe operations on campus, Kiwibot relies on cutting-edge technology, including high-tech sensors, reflective flags, night lights and a range of lidar to create a real-time virtual visualization of its surroundings. Human supervisors are present to provide additional assistance if required, and an on-site team is available to offer immediate support. Please be patient with robots as they learn campus routes.
Kiwibot was founded in 2017 and launched its first pilot at the University of California-Berkeley campus. The company aims to revolutionize food delivery with high-driving autonomous robots and has made over 200,000 deliveries on U.S. university campuses and cities. The service lets customers launch last-mile deliveries at a fraction of the time and cost without the hassle of hiring a courier. With recent partnerships, including Grubhub, Kiwibot is committed to a zero-carbon future and aims to create a world where technology, logistics, and delivery are for all.