Robots deliver food to UW-Madison students

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- The University of Wisconsin-Madison launched a fleet of food delivery robots, giving students a futuristic option to order in.

UW-Madison launched a fleet of 30 food delivery robots this week.

With a free app and a $1.99 delivery fee, anyone in the Lakeshore area of campus can get food delivered to his or her door.

On the app called “Starship – Deliveries,” users can select a variety of food items from three campus markets and drop a pin on their current location. A dining hall employee would then place the wanted item inside the bot, and the robot would travel across campus for delivery.

The university is the fourth, and largest, college campus to introduce the robots.

“It’s extremely exciting,” Peter Testory, a UW Housing official, said. “I never thought that I’d be sitting down and having a conversation similar to this about having food delivered via autonomous delivery vehicles.”

Officials and students alike expect the robots to increase convenience for users, particularly in extreme weather conditions.

“It would be nice to have it come to the front of your dorm, so that you don’t have to go out to the cold,” Johnny Lorge, a junior at UW-Madison, said. "You don't have to change your clothes or anything."

Markus Zimmermann, the launch director for the robots’ maker company Starship, said the bots were designed in northern Europe with climate in mind.

“They are designed to work in rain, in cold temperatures, in snow,” Zimmermann said.

According to Testory, the bots’ geographic reach, which is currently limited to the Lakeshore area, is set to expand in the coming weeks.