‘Continuing to take those steps to be innovative’: UND says safety at the forefront with upcoming robot delivery project

Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 5:45 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - The University of North Dakota will soon have robots, called Kiwibots, traveling across the campus to deliver food. While the notion of having the convenience of that service, some have questions about the overall safety and how it could impact students financially.

“I just find it really exciting that UND is continuing to take steps to be innovative and trying something for the first time.” said Katie Elliott, the UND Campus Liaison.

“I’m thinking like pizza for example,” said Orlynn Rosaasen, the director of dining services at UND. “We can start delivering pizzas to the residence halls.”

Elliott also said this is the first campus in North Dakota to have this service.

Some of the safety concerns revolve around roadways and having these robots move around the campus.

“Kiwibots has been here since last week actually mapping our campus,” said Elliott. “It’s going to be a closed ecosystem which just means they are going to keep within a one mile radius of the campus.”

UND said these bots can also be taken over by a Kiwibot employee in case. These will be utilized as well during the cold, winter months since they can handle some of the snow.

“They are going to go through some snow,” said Rosaasen. “Obviously we’ve got six to eight inches of snow we’re probably not going to go through that. We have to make some operational decisions on days like that.”

Another question is how will this impact the pocketbooks of current and future students. The school said they will not be increasing tuition or student fees for the Kiwibots. While they wouldn’t not comment on how much the project costs, they did state there will be a $3 delivery fee that goes to the Kiwibots.

“It’s going to expand our business really,” said Rosaasen. “We’ll be able to bring food to the customers rather than the customers come to us. It will also allow us to expand our hours of operation.”

For more coverage on these robots, click here.