Multiple-choice question: E-commerce delivery robots enjoy soaring popularity on college campuses because they offer: A. contactless delivery, B. convenience, C. novelty, or D. improved mental health. Customer research from robot developer Starship Technologies suggests that the answer may be “all of the above.”
San Francisco-based Starship recently surveyed 7,063 college students on more than 20 campuses across the U.S. where it currently operates. Among the study’s findings: 60% said they could study more because the robots deliver food and packages when and where they need them, 30% said they felt safer on campus because of the contactless delivery, 25% said the robots have improved their mental health, and 64% said they skip fewer meals because the delivery robots allow them to avoid long lines for food. All in all, 61% said they place at least one order for robot delivery per week.
On top of that, the robots appear to be overwhelmingly popular with students, with more than 98% saying they love them (78%) or like them (20%). Three-quarters said the robots were “friendly/cute,” and 44% said they had treated the robot like a person by saying “thank you” or “excuse me” to it. Some 37% said they had patted the robot, and 19% admitted they had taken a selfie with it.
Starship robots have been operating on college campuses since 2019. Schools currently served by the fleet include Arizona State University; Purdue University; the University of Kentucky; Ole Miss; Oregon State University; the University of California, Los Angeles; the University of Tennessee; North Carolina A&T; and James Madison University.