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“Do not open robots,” warns Oregon State amid college food delivery bomb prank

Enlarge / A 2020 file photo of a Starship Technologies food delivery robot. Food is stored inside the robot’s housing during transportation and opened upon delivery. (credit: Leon Neal/Getty Images)

On Tuesday, officials at Oregon State University issued a warning on social media about a bomb threat concerning Starship Technologies food delivery robots, autonomous wheeled drones that deliver food orders stored within a built-in container. By 7 pm local time, a suspect had been arrested in the prank, and officials declared there had been no bombs hidden within the robots.

“Bomb Threat in Starship food delivery robots,” reads the 12:20 pm initial X post from OSU. “Do not open robots. Avoid all robots until further notice.” In follow-up posts, OSU officials said they were “remotely isolating robots in a safe location” for investigation by a technician. By 3:54 pm local time, experts had cleared the robots and promised they would be “back in service” by 4 pm.

In response, Starship Technologies provided this statement to the press: “A student at Oregon State University sent a bomb threat, via social media, that involved Starship’s robots on the campus. While the student has subsequently stated this is a joke and a prank, Starship suspended the service. Safety is of the utmost importance to Starship and we are cooperating with law enforcement and the university during this investigation.”

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