Students at University of the Pacific are about to have a futuristic dream come true: a robot that delivers you snacks.
PepsiCo's Hello Goodness brand, which was created in 2015 to provide healthier snacks and beverages to consumers on the go, partnered with the San Francisco Bay Area-based Robby Technologies to bring this self-driving snack robot – or "snackbot" – to life. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., students at the private university in Stockton, California, can order food and drinks to one of more than 50 locations across campus through the snackbot app.
“We’re thrilled to welcome snackbot to our campus, along with its convenient and nourishing options,” Matt Camino, director of e-commerce at University of the Pacific, Stockton, said in a statement.
All snacks and beverages are part of a Hello Goodness portfolio. These include Pure Leaf Tea and LIFEWTR on the drinks side, and Baked Lay’s potato crisps and SunChips for food.
The University of the Pacific will serve as a test site with three to five snackbots roaming across campus starting today, following several weeks of testing, according to Scott Finlow, vice president of innovation and insights for global foodservice at PepsiCo.
Finlow said that, to PepsiCo's knowledge, its snackbot is the first autonomous robot developed by a consumer products company "that is delivering products in the U.S."
"Snackbot is the next generation of us delivering convenient, healthier products," said Finlow, who declined to give the specific amount of money PepsiCo invested into the snackbots. "It represents a really important intersection of consumer demands and needs and also the evolution of technology."
The snackbots will be able to motor around for more than 20 miles on a single charge. Neither inclement weather nor darkness will be a hindrance on the food and drink delivery: The snackbot has a camera and headlights to navigate clearly at all times. As for curbs and steep inclines, the snackbot has all-wheel drive capabilities.
This announcement follows an eventful 2018 for the company. In August, former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi announced she was stepping down. PepsiCo's former president, Ramon Laguarta, succeeded Nooyi.
Also in August, PepsiCo bought Israel’s SodaStream for $3.2 billion, as the company looked to capitalize on the sales of sparking water. And in October, PepsiCo announced its acquisition of plant-based nutritional bar maker Health Warrior as it pushed deeper into good-for-you products.
Follow USA TODAY intern Ben Tobin on Twitter: @TobinBen
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Snacks, drinks delivered by robot? It's a dream come true at this college campus