“Urgent OSU Alert: Bomb Threat in Starship food delivery robots. Do not open robots. Avoid all robots until further notice. Public Safety is responding,” the university posted on X, formerly Twitter at about 12:20 p.m.
Roughly 40 minutes later, OSU said it was remotely isolating the robots in a safe location and that people should remain vigilant for suspicious activity.
About an hour after the initial alert, OSU said the emergency was over.
It’s not clear if the threat was just at the main campus in Corvallis or extended to the OSU-Cascades campus in Bend. It was also not immediately clear what prompted the alert.
Central Oregon Daily News has reached out to OSU to get more information. We’re awaiting contact.
Oregon State University began using the food delivery robots in October 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, but OSU said it was looking into using them long before the pandemic.
The boxy robots are small, with six wheels and a rounded white body, can carry up to 20 pounds of food. They use a combination of machine learning, artificial intelligence and sensors to travel on sidewalks and navigate around obstacles.
When a customer places an order using the delivery app, they can select a location to meet their delivery robot. The customer will also receive a code in the app to unlock the robot when it arrives, so their order won’t be absconded by hungry passersby.
San Francisco-based Starship Technologies said on X earlier this month that the robots had rolled onto nearly 50 college campuses in the U.S., serving over 1 million students.
Starship Technologies didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.