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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Food delivery robots introduced, able to deliver campus eats

The+Starship+food+delivery+robot+is+a+new+innovation+that+was+intoduced+to+Wichita+State+in+Fall+2023.+The+robot+delivers+food+from+restaurants+in+the+RSC+to+your+current+location+on+the+Starship+app.
Jacinda Hall
The Starship food delivery robot is a new innovation that was intoduced to Wichita State in Fall 2023. The robot delivers food from restaurants in the RSC to your current location on the Starship app.

Wichita State students can now skip the walk to the Rhatigan Student Center and befriend a small robot thanks to a partnership with Starship Technologies. 

Starting on Aug. 14, the Starship Delivery service has offered options from the following on-campus restaurants: Panda Express, Freddy’s Frozen Custard, RSC Starbucks, Tu Taco, Cargill Cafe, Market at Groundhouse, and Black & Gold Grill. 

The robots are woken up in the morning and taken to a loading zone. From there, they operate independently, but need help with the door. Each restaurant has a designated ticket printer dedicated to the robots, and after completing orders, employees scan the robot’s QR codes to confirm accurate delivery.

To order from the service, students must download the Starship Deliveries app, which offers a $2.49 delivery anywhere on campus. The service coordinates with the student meal plan, allowing students to use dining dollars and shocker dollars, along with credit cards.

Once users order from a range of food options, they drop a pin, and the delivery service begins. Users are then able to track their robotic deliveries on an interactable map, and are notified when their deliveries arrive. Then, users are able to unlock the robot’s delivery compartment with the app.

According to Jamie Kraisinger, senior director of WSU Dining Services, this project has been three years in the making with many certifications and permissions required to have the robots on campus.

“We are looking forward to the cold weather because I think it (Starship Delivery) will ease the flexibility with the food desert at the Flats and the Suites … bringing it to their door and not having to get out on a cold day,” Kraisinger said.

Since the start of the week, students are starting to notice the traveling robots. 

Yumi Kikuch, a first year graduate student in the Innovation and Design program, said she was interested in the new delivery robots.  

“I actually feel pretty excited. Maybe it’s because of my background in mechatronics,” Kikuch said.

Kas Kurtis, sophomore biology and forensic science student, said they were surprised WSU would offer a robot delivery service. 

“I’m intrigued. I’ve heard nothing about them so they kinda showed up,” Kurtis said. 

WSU is the newest campus to receive Starship Delivery robots, but colleges such as University of Wisconsin-Madison, UCLA, University of Illinois Chicago, Bowling Green State University, and many others across the country have already implemented robot delivery services. 

There are currently 13 delivery robots in service at WSU, with the possibility for more depending on demand. On its first day of operations, the service completed over 20 orders. 

Kelly Linenberger, director of marketing for WSU dining services, expects to see an increase in orders when school starts and people are moved in, expecting to make over 100 deliveries a week.

More information about the Starship Delivery robots can be found on the Starship Technologies website.

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About the Contributors
Taliyah Winn
Taliyah Winn, Assistant News Editor
Taliyah Winn is the assistant news editor for the Sunflower. She is a sophomore at WSU, double majoring in political science and journalism. In her spare time, Winn relaxes by drawing, weightlifting, and crocheting - usually while listening to music, YouTube videos, or Dungeons & Dragons podcasts. Winn uses she/her pronouns.
Jacinda Hall
Jacinda Hall, Podcast Editor
Jacinda Hall is the podcast editor for The Sunflower. Hall is a junior majoring in communications with an emphasis in journalism and minoring in English literature. Her favorite quote is by Kurt Cobain: “I’d rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not.” In her free time, Hall likes to go to the gym, crochet and make fancy beverages. Hall's pronouns are she/her.

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