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Robot Food Delivery service raises concerns on Purdue

The new robots that have been delivering food on Purdue's campus have become a safety concern after one almost hit a bicyclist.

Posted: Sep 26, 2019 5:29 PM
Updated: Sep 26, 2019 6:22 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - The new robots that have been delivering food on Purdue's campus have become a safety concern after one almost hit a bicyclist.

Purdue Police Chief John Cox said they have had some issues with the robots.
"We have instances where the robots will get into the road and it would sense some movement and it would freeze in the road," said Chief Cox.

Purdue student Connor Vickers was waiting for a bus when he saw one of the robots getting ready to cross University Street. That's when he decided to film.

The robot narrowly missed hitting a bicyclist, who had to swerve to avoid a collision.

"It didn't recognize a bicyclist. It started going and then the bicyclist had to swerve around it," said Vickers.
Vickers said it's a problem he sees daily.

"If you stand still the robot will just go around you by a few millimeters, because it thinks you're just an object, not a pedestrian. That's another concern for safety," said Vickers.

Chief Cox said the robots are still learning.

"Over the last few weeks they've done some retooling of the software and have created a situation where the robots are operating more efficiently," said Cox.

WLFI reached out to the makers of the robots -Starship Technologies and they said they're still working out the kinks.
If students want to report a robot all they need to do is find a barcode on the back and send an email to the company detailing what happened.

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