June 06, 2024

The Top Commercial Robots for Higher Education Facilities

commercial robot on college campus

Colleges and universities pride themselves on conducting leading research, implementing innovative solutions, and the use of highly sophisticated technology. These qualities are what attract new and returning students and often help higher education institutions develop themselves as leaders in research and scholarliness across industries.

So, it’s no surprise that colleges and universities are implementing commercial robots across campus to improve the on-campus experience and revolutionize campus operations management. 

What are commercial robots? Commercial robots are devices that are designed to assist with or take on tasks that are time-consuming, repetitive in nature, or even dangerous for humans. 

Sometimes called Cobots (collaborative robots), they are often used to work alongside human workers to improve efficiency and increase productivity. 

So, what are the most common commercial robots being adopted across college campuses to improve operational efficiency and productivity? We’ve compiled a list. 

The following are the top five commercial robots that are significantly enhancing the efficiency, safety, and overall experience within higher education facilities.

Food delivery robot working on college campus

Key Features

·      Autonomous Navigation: Use GPS tracking, advanced lidar sensors, and motion cameras to navigate complex campus layouts safely. 

·      Secure Compartments: Ensure that deliveries remain safe and untouched until they reach the intended recipient.

·      App Integration: This allows users to track their deliveries in real-time and receive notifications upon arrival. Integrate with already established apps like Grubhub. 

Impact on Campus Operations

These robots alleviate the logistical challenges of delivering items across expansive campuses, reduce delivery times, and free up human resources for other tasks. 

Ohio State University was one of the first colleges to implement food delivery robots. According to Zia Ahmed, the Senior Director of Dining Services at Ohio State University, the college is looking to beat national averages for food delivery costs and times by implementing food delivery robots.  

According to Ahmed, the national average for food delivery is one hour and the average cost is $5-6 dollars per delivery. By implementing delivery robots on campus, Ahmed’s goal is to get delivery timing down to less than 30 minutes and the cost down to $2.50 per delivery. 

By improving delivery time and costs, campus dining service programs can reduce expenses and keep food service affordable for college students. 

Cobi 18 robotic scrubber cleaning at higher ed facility

Key Features

·      Adaptable Cleaning Routes: Use AI to optimize cleaning paths based on real-time data and changing conditions.

·      Multi-Surface Capability: Equipped to clean various surfaces, from hard floors to carpets.

·      Data Collection: Provide reports on cleaning performance and usage patterns, helping facilities managers optimize operations.

Impact on Campus Operations

By implementing commercial cleaning robots, colleges can ensure that cleaning is done systematically and thoroughly, improving the overall cleanliness of campus facilities and improving the student experience. 

Plus, by automating routine cleaning tasks, human custodial staff can focus on more detailed or specialized cleaning needs, thereby enhancing overall productivity.

autonomous security robot on college campus

Key Features

·      Real-Time Surveillance: Equipped with high-definition cameras, thermal imaging, and sensors to detect unusual activities.

·      Patrol Scheduling: Can be programmed to patrol specific areas at designated times, ensuring continuous monitoring.

·      Emergency Response: Capable of alerting human security personnel to potential threats and providing real-time footage.

Impact on Campus Operations

Commercial security robots enhance security presence, reduce the burden on law enforcement, and provide a visible deterrent to potential wrongdoers. Their ability to continuously patrol and monitor large areas ensures a safer campus environment.

lawncare robot mowing college stadium lawn

Key Features

·      Precision Mowing: Autonomous lawn mowers that can operate on set schedules, navigate around obstacles, and handle slopes, some up to 45%. 

·      Weather Resilient: Can mow the lawn even when raining and timers can be adjusted based on the growth rate for more frequent mowing during high growth periods.  

·      Safety and Collision Sensors: Blades instantly stop or retract inward if the mower is lifted or detects an object. 

Impact on Campus Operations

These robots maintain campus grounds efficiently and consistently, ensuring that outdoor areas remain clean and accessible. By automating these labor-intensive tasks, campuses can achieve higher standards of ground maintenance with reduced labor costs and improved sustainability.

According to the Meredith College press release,

“With more frequent mowing there is less irrigation needed, less disturbance to natural habitats, and better turf health and appearance. The robotic mowers have no carbon emissions and are also quiet when in use.” 


The integration of commercial robots into higher education facilities offers a myriad of benefits, from enhanced security and efficient deliveries to spotless environments and well-maintained grounds. 

As technology continues to advance, commercial robots will only become more sophisticated and integral to campus operations. By investing in these innovative solutions, facilities directors and campus leaders can ensure that their institutions remain at the forefront of operational efficiency and provide the best possible environment for their students, staff, and visitors.

Embracing these technological advancements not only addresses current operational challenges but also positions higher education institutions as leaders in innovation and sustainability. 

As campuses continue to evolve, the role of commercial robots will undoubtedly become even more critical in shaping the future of higher education facilities management.

ICE Cobotics is a leading floor cleaning technology and equipment company specializing in autonomous solutions available through an all-inclusive subscription. If you’re in the market for robotic floor scrubbers, we can help. Reach out to our automation specialists to answer your questions.

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