The Tulane community has a new, futuristic food delivery service. A league of 30 petite, semi-autonomous robots known as Kiwibots, now rove the uptown campus, bringing sandwiches, salads and other meal choices to hungry students, faculty and staff – giving a new twist to the phrase “Laissez les bons temps rouler.”
Tulanians can place orders from the Kiwibots through Tulane University Dining Services locations using the Everyday ordering app. Once diners place an order through the app, Dining Services staff load the meal into the Kiwibot, which rolls across the uptown campus, R2D2-style, to make the delivery at the requested drop-off location. The Everyday app also allows users to place orders for pick-up.
“To ensure safe operations on campus, Kiwibot relies on the most advanced technology and a semi-autonomous driving system,” said John Tarin, head of global operations at Kiwibot. “The robots create a virtual visualization of the world in real-time, using high-tech sensors, reflective flags, night lights, and a range lidar (light detection and ranging).”
Kiwibot staff monitor and repair the Kiwibots from Le Gourmet in Butler Hall on Tulane’s uptown campus. The robots traverse the campus autonomously except when crossing the street — staff remotely supervise the Kiwibots when they reach a crossroads, to ensure the safety of the community.
“Dining Services is always striving to improve customer service, utilizing state-of-the-art technology,” said John Lange, assistant vice president for Dining and Event Services at Tulane. “Dining Services recognized Kiwibot as a cost-effective and sustainable delivery option before the launch this fall.”
At the end of the first four weeks on the uptown campus, the Kiwibots delivered 757 orders to the Tulane community. Dunkin’, Halal Shack, Le Gourmet’s Lemongrass, and WOW Café are the current top dining locations for Kiwibot orders.
“Kiwibots connect with our mission in Campus Services by providing delivery options for our community that hopefully makes getting lunch, dinner, or a snack easier and more convenient,” said Brian Johnson, associate vice president for Campus Operations at Tulane.
Students who live on campus and have a dining plan with Tulane Dining Services can receive five free deliveries. Additionally, anyone on the uptown campus can access one complimentary order using the promo code FIRSTKIWIBOT. Users can also save 10% on the service fee per order when purchasing a subscription plan during the fall semester. Please note that Kiwibot subscriptions do not roll over but instead restart each semester.
For more information, go to Dining Services’ website.