Delivery robots ‘help students feel safer, skip fewer meals and improve mental health’

Delivery robots are becoming a popular feature on college campuses across the US and are one of the best and sometimes only options for contactless delivery. It turns out the delivery robots have had other positive impacts on campus.

Starship Technologies, a provider of autonomous delivery services, recently conducted an online survey of 7,063 college students on more than 20 campuses across the US where it provides delivery services.

Among the findings are:

  • 6 out of 10 (60 percent) said they could study more because the robots deliver when and where they need them
  • 1 in 4 (25 percent) say the robots have improved their mental health
  • 30 percent said they felt safer on campus because of the contactless delivery offered by the robots
  • Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) said they didn’t skip meals because they didn’t have to wait in long lines for food
  • The robots are overwhelmingly popular with more than 98 percent saying they love them (78 percent) or like them (20 percent) on their campus
  • More than 60 percent (61 percent) place at least one order per week

Delivery robots embraced by students

Starship says that part of the reason students feel such affinity for their robots is because “cuteness and convenience were always part of the design.”

The survey shows:

  • More than 9 out of 10 (93 percent) say the robots are convenient / helpful
  • Three-quarters (75 percent) say the robots are friendly / cute
  • More than 40 percent (44 percent) say they have treated the robot as they would a personby saying thank you, excuse me, and so on.
  • More than half (56 percent) say they have helped a robot if it appeared to be in need
  • Other popular responses included patted the robot (37 percent) or took a selfie with it (19 percent)

Delivery robots poised for future growth

The increased reliance on Starship delivery robots during the pandemic has had a positive impact that continues to move the industry forward at an accelerated pace.

Starship tripled its delivery service in 2021 and survey results show that students like what they see:

  • More than 9 in 10 (95 percent) say they would recommend autonomous robots to friends on other campuses
  • An overwhelming majority (90 percent) prefer robots over drones (8 percent) or self driving cars (2 percent) when it comes to autonomous delivery
  • More than 6 in 10 (61 percent) say robots are an asset to the campus
  • Two-thirds (67 percent) feel more favorably about the robots since seeing them in person and / or using the service
  • More than 90 percent (92 percent) say they will continue to use autonomous robot delivery it if it is available after they graduate

Mason Frantz, a senior at Bowling Green State University, says: “I never really thought that robots would be part of my college life or that I would get to see them so closely.

“Now, I just think it’s so cool and I’m also really glad that I can sleep longer because the delivery comes to me when I want it.”

Starship has been providing autonomous, on-demand deliveries on college campuses since 2019.

Starship robots can now be found delivering daily on campuses nationwide including Bowling Green State University (BGSU), Arizona State University (ASU), Purdue University, University of Kentucky, Ole Miss, Oregon State University (OSU), UCLA, University of Tennessee, North Caroline A&T and James Madison University.

Ryan Tuohy, SVP of Business Development and Sales at Starship Technologies, says: “We thought that college campuses would be a great setting for delivery robots but we had no idea they would be this successful.

“We feel fortunate that the students appreciate them so much and treat them as a valued member of the campus community.

“It’s also rewarding that they’re not just making college students’ lives more convenient but that they’re making many of them happier while doing it.”

The Starship Food Delivery app is available for download on iOS and Android. To get started, customers choose from a range of their favorite food or drink items, then drop a pin where they want their delivery to be sent.

The user can then watch as the robot makes its journey to them, via an interactive map. Once the robot arrives, the customer receives an alert, and can then meet the robot and unlock it through the app.

Starship Technologies operates commercially on a daily basis around the world. Its zero-emission robots make more than 140,000 road crossings every day, have completed over 3 million autonomous commercial deliveries and traveled more than 4 million miles (6 million + kms) globally, more than any other autonomous delivery provider.

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