Actual Warning From Oregon State: 'Avoid All Robots'

Threat involving food delivery robots was later determined to be a hoax, company says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 25, 2023 1:42 PM CDT
Actual Warning From Oregon State: 'Avoid All Robots'
A Starship Technologies robot drives along the sidewalk on First Street in West Lafayette, Indiana.   (Nikos Frazier/Journal & Courier via AP)

Authorities say an Oregon State University student has been arrested in connection with a hoax bomb threat that led to this alert on X from the university Tuesday afternoon: "Bomb Threat in Starship food delivery robots. Do not open robots. Avoid all robots until further notice. Public Safety is responding." Hours later, OSU's Department of Public Safety said a person suspected of making the threat had been arrested, the Daily Barometer reports. The department said a bomb-sniffing dog had inspected all 75 food delivery robots on campus and no explosives had been detected.

The warning to avoid robots was issued at 12:20pm, NBC News reports. The university said around 1pm that the robots had been isolated "in a safe location" for inspection. An all-clear was issued 40 minutes later. A fleet of six-wheeled robots from Starship Technologies has been delivering food around the 500-acre campus since 2021, the Oregonian reports. Starship said in a statement Tuesday that a student had issued the threat on social media. "While the student has subsequently stated this is a joke and a prank, Starship suspended the service," the company said.

"Safety is of the utmost importance to Starship and we are cooperating with law enforcement and the university during this investigation," the company said, per USA Today. Starship says it operates thousands of robots in more than 60 locations worldwide, including dozens of US college campuses. (More Oregon State University stories.)

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