OSU is unveiling a new autonomous food delivery service on campus. The service will let students, faculty and staff order and have delivered food from on-campus cafes and restaurants. The program currently includes 50 rovers, about the size of a picnic cooler, that will deliver food and beverages to the campus community.
Zia Ahmed, Senior Director of Dining, said they are trying to solve two problems here. First, cost of delivery. Second, the delivery time.
Ahmed said that in the surround area of the campus it takes about one hour to food delivered on campus. And that it costs an average of $5-$6 per delivery. The rover program intends to reduce that delivery time to just 30 minutes and only $2.50 per delivery.
Abby Silone, a second-year student, who works for dining services says that long delivery times also affect food quality. Imagine a frozen drink. It gets sat on a counter until someone is available to pick it up for delivery. Within an hour the drink is ruined. It is melted. The whipped cream is gone.
With the robots, she said, we can start the delivery the moment the beverage is completed.
On campus customers will be using the current GrubHub app they already use to order food. There will be an option of rover delivery through the app.