College campus rolls out ‘snackbots’ to replace vending machines

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Every college student’s dream is becoming a reality today at one California college campus — a robot that delivers snacks.

Students at the University of the Pacific, a private university in Stockton, can now use an app to order food and drinks to more than 50 locations throughout campus — and have the grub delivered to them by a self-driving snack robot, or “snackbot,” USA Today reported.

PepsiCo’s health-conscious Hello Goodness brand partnered with San Francisco Bay Area-based Robby Technologies to launch the bot — which delivers Baked Lay’s potato crisps, SunChips, Pure Leaf Tea and LIFEWTR, among other options, according to the report.

“We’re thrilled to welcome snackbot to our campus, along with its convenient and nourishing options,” Matt Camino, director of e-commerce at the university, said in a statement issued to the paper.

The stout bots, perched atop six small wheels, resemble a cross between an Igloo cooler and a Volkswagen Microbus, the Washington Post reported.

The snackbots can zip around campus for more than 20 miles on a single charge, according to the USA Today report. Neither inclement weather nor darkness can get in the bot’s way — it’s equipped with a camera and headlights for clear navigation, as well as all-wheel-drive capabilities.

The university will serve as a test site, with three to five snackbots roaming around the campus beginning Thursday, Scott Finlow, vice president of innovation and insights for global foodservice at PepsiCo, told the outlet.

He declined to say exactly how much PepsiCo invested into the new bots.

“Snackbot is the next generation of us delivering convenient, healthier products,” Finlow said. “It represents a really important intersection of consumer demands and needs and also the evolution of technology.”

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