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Food conveyance robots may shortly roll up any order to Purdue’s campus

These autonomous robots put the irreplaceable in unique conveyance and you might see them on a college campus near you! Buzz.

How do conveyance robots operate in winter? Are the robots insured? What if no one picks up the delivery?

A board in West Lafayette, Indiana, has unanimously approved a pilot program bringing robotic conveyance services to Purdue University, as well as a suspension of city code permitting small, cooler-size robots to operate on city sidewalks.

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But first, the board members had several questions concerning the program from San Francisco-based Starship Technologies, before it could debut in September.

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Robert Wynkoop, senior director of auxiliary services for Purdue, noted on Tuesday that the conveyance robots would transport food and products from the university’s dining and retail locations.

That could be a burger, a coffee, whatever the case may be, Wynkoop noted. We’ve spoken with other university’s dining programs and public safety offices and they have had no problems. This is just another option of service.

Michelle Dearing, a member of the West Lafayette Board of Public Works and Safety, noted she wanted to determine why the city was interested in offering conveyance robots.

This is something that has come our way to be more appealing to not just future residents, however for future corporations as well, director of development Erik Carlson noted.

A Starship Technologies robot drives past Duhme Hall on First, Thursday, Aug., in West Lafayette. The self-driving conveyance robot is mapping the Purdue campus according to an employee.

Sana Booker, a city clerk, brought up the potential challenges of snow and ice, noting that West Lafayette has seen its fair share of habitual winter-weather layers over the years.

Wynkoop noted the conveyance robots have operated in a city north of London for over a year and have so far not seen mobility issues.

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The pilot program would remain temporary until the city code for motorized vehicles on sidewalks is changed, Carlson noted. However, if the conveyance program doesn’t work out before then, it may be eliminated at any time.

Concerns over the safety of people, pets, and property arose, however, Starship Technologies noted all of its small robots are insured. Carlson noted that after seeing the robots in action, concerns about potential harm should be small.

There is about an -to- inch-zone the robots will stop in if it encounters a person or an object, he noted. Though they have to possess up to mph, they typically drive slower than that due to monitoring the pedestrian traffic around them.

Wynkoop noted the robots hours of operation would likely last from around or a.m. to p.m. and would be present on sidewalks only once making a delivery. Otherwise, the robots would return to their home base, awaiting the subsequent delivery.

A Starship Technologies robot drives along the sidewalk on First, Thursday, Aug., in West Lafayette. The self-driving conveyance robot is mapping the Purdue campus according to an employee.

Private retailers who lease with the university would have the ability to apply the Starship Technologies devices, too, Wynkoop noted.

The level of potential revenue for the university was unclear, Wynkoop noted.

This service is a good opportunity for people with disabilities to acquire food and goods more easily delivered to them, something we have heard from the other universities participating with Starship Technologies, Wynkoop noted.

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