Through cold and COVID: Robots roam on campus at local college

BRIDGEWATER, Mass. — Spend a few minutes on campus at Bridgewater State University and it won’t long before a white robot comes rolling by to make a delivery.

“Last week alone we had 750 deliveries, the numbers are going up and up,” said Karen Jason, Vice President for Operations, Bridgewater State University.

The robots are busy, and very polite.

“Thanks a lot,” said the robot

They get loaded up with all kinds of things.

“We have Starbucks as you mentioned, we have a grill, pizza station, salad. Drinks beverages, desserts, anything like that,” said Staci DeSimone, Sodexo General Manager.

One of those deliveries was heading to Bailey Cormier across campus.

“It’s really funny – because you’ll see a fleet of them going through university park, but it makes life so much easier, on days like today when it’s cold and windy, you can just order it to your room and it delivers see there is one,” said junior Bailey Cormier.

Sodexo teamed up with Starship technologies to bring to campus the new delivery robots, that operate almost entirely autonomously.

“They have ten cameras and 360-degree vision, so what’s really cool is we get to hire local people and some students to help us out,” said Juan Canahui with Starship Technologies.

When it comes to crossing the street and dealing with traffic, human intervention can be utilized.

“We do have remote operators working to say it’s OK to cross at certain times,” said Joe Maloney – Starship Technologies.

The school doesn’t own the robots, they contract them.

They are now on 15 college campuses and have made over 1 million deliveries so far.

“With the robots, it’s insulted it stays warm – it makes it nice it makes it easy,” said senior Mariah Porter.

Arriving during the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, enabling social distancing on campus.

“We decided this was a proactive and safe opportunity and fun,” said DeSimone.

For these students, scenes like this could soon be as common as mascots and midterms.

“I think after this whole ordeal calms down they’ll still be so useful and so helpful,” said Porter.

“Oh thanks,” said the robot!

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