Grubhub looks to deploy robots on college campuses

A restaurant employee with a University of Michigan shirt loads food into a Yandex delivery robot.

Written by James Shea

Grubhub and robot delivery company Yandex are preparing to rollout delivery robots on college campuses in the United States this fall.

Grubhub has delivery partnerships with 250 college campuses, and the robots are being deployed at select locations. The goal is to make delivery faster and more cost-efficient on college campuses.

Yandex is a Russian conglomerate with operations in Europe. The agreement marks the first time that the company has entered the U.S. market. The autonomous robots are small and designed to maneuver on the sidewalk and other pedestrian areas of a college campus.

“Together with Yandex, we’re changing the way college students experience food delivery,” said Brian Madigan, vice president of corporate and campus partners at Grubhub, adding. “While college campuses are notoriously difficult for cars to navigate, specifically as it relates to food delivery, Yandex robots easily access parts of campuses that vehicles cannot — effectively removing a major hurdle universities face when implementing new technology.”

Grubhub has been partnering with university foodservice organizations that use Grubhub’s technology for online ordering. The partnership allows Grubhub to expand the services that it can offer to college dining operations.

“We chose to partner with Grubhub for campus delivery because of Grubhub’s unparalleled reach into college campuses across the United States, as well as the flexibility and strength of their ordering platform,” said Dmitry Polishchuk, CEO of Yandex Self-Driving Group. “We are delighted to deploy dozens of our rovers, taking the next step in actively commercializing our self-driving technology in different markets across the globe.”

Autonomous robots have been utilized at multiple college campuses for the last several years. The robots are small and maneuver better than autonomous vehicles. They are specifically designed for the college campus and can make deliveries to the dorms, library, or anywhere a student is located on campus.

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