Editor's note: An earlier version of this article misidentified the robot seen on campus as a KiwiBot. The Exponent regrets this error and will report further on the two food-delivery robots as new information emerges.
A small box-like robot was seen by Exponent staff and users on Reddit rolling around campus Tuesday. The four-wheeled box was later identified as a food delivery robot called a "Starship robot."
Starship Technologies is currently conducting mapping exercises around West Lafayette, Purdue spokesman Tim Doty said via email.
Another food-delivery robot company, Kiwi Campus, has reportedly planned to pilot a delivery program on campus, according to reporting by TechCrunch.
Kiwi Campus, a Columbian start-up company based in Berkeley, California, has spread its food-delivery robots in pilot programs on a dozen colleges — with Purdue on its list, according to an article from TechCrunch. The robot was first introduced at UC Berkeley.
According to the Kiwi Campus webpage, the robot is semi-autonomous and has a custom GPS installed. Inside, the KiwiBot has six cameras, a Jetson TX2 AI computing device and a five hour-long battery life. The robot also features a digital face with a signature wink.
Purdue is currently working on a procedure that requires evaluation and approval of any new technology such as KiwiBot that may impact facility, pedestrian and vehicle safety on campus, according to Doty. He had not heard of KiwiBot coming to campus when questioned.
According to reporting from TechCrunch, the company is reaching out to students in robotics clubs and groups who want to be part of the Kiwi administration on those campuses.
The other selected colleges KiwiBot will be at in some capacity are as follows:
-Northern Illinois University
-University of Oklahoma
-East Tennessee State University
-University of Nebraska-Lincoln