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A Day in the Life of a Starship Robot

It’s a chilly Indiana morning on the Purdue campus, but we woke up early for a busy day ahead.

I feel fully charged and look at my 63 siblings as we all gradually come to life. 

We receive our first order of the morning: a breakfast sandwich and a coffee from Starbucks for a student at Earhart Hall. I know my mission. I can’t wait to hit the sidewalk!

Along the way, I marvel at the campus as students rush to classes, dodging distracted walkers as they study their phones for any last-minute emails or assignments before classes kick off for the day.

“Go Boilermakers!” I hear them say as I roll by. Am I a Boilermaker? I thought I was just a normal delivery robot. How do you be a Boilermaker? If I consider myself a Boilermaker, too, does that mean I can order a Starship delivery like everyone else?

Rolling up to Earhart Hall, I am greeted by a pajama-clad student. She sleepily yawns, and with one eye open thumbs the Starship app to open my lid and accept her much-needed delivery. I eagerly let her know “Here’s your delivery, have a nice day!” She smiles, says “thanks” and goes back inside. Ooh, another order is ready to be collected, so I roll away for my next mission.

The morning flies by in a rush. Wow, a lot of bagel deliveries today; I wonder what they taste like? Electricity is pretty tasty, but I can’t imagine it would go well with cream cheese.

Deep in thought about what toppings would go well with electricity, I quickly come to a halt. Woaah, new construction on the sidewalk! Time to find an alternate route! I notice students do not walk underneath the bell tower. Is that so they leave a special path for me? Is it because they think of me as a friend? A special path for me to bring coffee to a desperate student in need of caffeine? Maybe I, Starship robot, am a hero! Can I feel like a hero?

The rest of the day is pretty eventful. As I am minding my own business, a grown man decides to take a selfie with me and stroke my lid like I am a dog! What a weirdo … I think I love him now. Can I feel love?  

Nuh-uh-uh! Someone tried opening my lid while I am waiting at a stop sign. Not for you, buddy! My meals are only for the student or campus employee who ordered it. You can’t trick me. Try again, and I’ll alert the mothership — and if you’ve seen “Star Wars,” you know what happens next.

Wow, look at this building. It’s beautiful! It says “Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering” on the side. The bronze man who sits on the concrete outside does a good job protecting Neil’s building. I wouldn’t want to mess with him. Was he an astronaut? Could I survive in outer space? This bronze figure seems very nice … although kind of quiet for a human, if you ask me. I notice there are giant human footprints here. Hmm, I wonder if I leave footprints, too?

Now I see my sister moving down the sidewalk. She trundles past me. Hey! Hey! Hey you! Ahh, she must not have heard me. I’ll see her later; we all sleep in the same bed, and it’s very cozy!

Then, around 3:14 p.m. some white cold stuff starts falling from the sky. Brrr. Looks like some more snow is coming our way. Oh well, I don’t mind! Bringing Boilermakers hot meals — so they don’t have to face the cold — is one of my favorite things.

It’s a f-f-full on b-b-blizzard. My little flag is flapping in the wind. It’s OK though; I’ve done this countless times. My wheels may be small, but they can handle some pretty big snowstorms. After all, we were born in the Baltics.

It’s gotten really dark now, and there are still students walking around. I have little time to rest, but a lot of them take photos with me, and I even know many by name now. Sophie! You know who you are! I find it bizarre that they want to take photos with me. I’m just your normal sidewalk robot. I see us everywhere. What’s so special about me?

It’s getting late, 1 a.m., and I’m still going — feeling weaker after a long day. I’ve had lots of coffees inside me, but they haven’t helped my energy level. I don’t know how these Purdue students stayed awake so late before we rolled onto campus, but I’ve become very fond of them. I hope I’m helping them with their studying. Maybe they could credit me in their assignments?

I need a good rest. I’m gonna go back to base to tap in my buddy who’ll do the remainder of the overnight shift. Going to jump right back into it early tomorrow, so I need all that sweet, sweet electricity to help me get through the day. Goodnight, Purdue! Can’t wait to do it all again tomorrow.

Learn more about Starship’s robots at