MINNEAPOLIS — Hungry customers at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport can now have food delivered to them via a round rolling robot.

AtYourGate, a new contactless food-ordering and delivery service, recently launched in Terminal 1. The rolling droid — basically a cooler on two wheels — can roll up to 6 miles an hour and can carry up to 40 pounds in its cargo bin.

It’s part of a pilot program designed to add an extra layer of safety to food deliveries at the airport, said Jeff Lea, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Airports Commission, which operates MSP. The Twin Cities airport is the fourth in the U.S. to launch the delivery droid, which is manufactured by Piaggio Fast Forward, the parent company of Vespa Scooters.

The robot, called a “gita,” uses visual sensors to follow an AtYourGate employee through the airport. When the time comes to hand over the order, the AtYourGate employee pushes a button to open the robot’s lid and then steps away to allow the customer to reach into the storage bin and pick it out themselves.

Order demand and locations factor into when and where the gita is dispatched, Lea said. Gits is pronounced “jee-ta,” Italian for “short trip.”

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Customers can order food to be delivered from 16 different venues, as well as from North Loop Market, which offers packaged food, drinks, electronics and travel accessories. There is a $4.99 delivery fee per order.

The AtYourGate employees are getting a workout delivering food to their customers; Matheus Krause de A. Palmeira reports walking 10 to 15 miles a day as he leads the knee-high gita through the airport.

“You can just see him flying through the airport,” Lea said. “If you’ve been in Terminal 1, you know it’s a vast place.”

Krause de A. Palmeira, of Minneapolis, said the gita is quickly becoming a tourist attraction and social-media star. “It gets nonstop attention,” he said. “People are always curious about what it is and how it functions. Kids think it’s incredible because it’s a robot, and it’s usually about their size.”

The gita is programmed to track Krause de A. Palmeira’s legs as he walks ahead of it. “It’s got a 180-degree camera view,” he said. “If I’m walking and I stop, it will stop. If I speed up, it speeds up. If I slow down, it slows down. It’s even able to do a 360-degree turn if I walk around it.”

The blue robot has lights around its wheels and “beeps much like R2-D2 when it stands up, when you click it to follow you and when it sits down,” Krause de A. Palmeira said.

In fact, he calls the gita “MS-3P0,” a take off on “Star Wars’” C-3PO, because of “the cute little sounds that he makes when he connects and disconnects,” he said. “He just gives the vibe of a little nice pet who is very attached to you.”

The robot has delivered numerous meals to passengers at their gates; the most popular restaurant for delivery is Panda Express, but the most popular item that gets delivered is a hamburger, he said.

“Hamburgers and drinks,” he said. “We have a cup holder that we use to stabilize the drinks. I think it spills less drinks than I do.”

Eventually, Krause de A. Palmeira expects there to be a fleet of food-delivery robots rolling through the airport. “It’s 2021, and we already have a robot like this,” he said. “Maybe by 2025? 2030?”

Said Eric Johnson, director of commercial management and airline affairs for the Metropolitan Airports Commission: “There is convenience and safety for customers to be able to order food from their phones or laptops, and within 15 to 30 minutes, the gita rolls up and opens its cargo doors for the customers to grab their order. It’s fun and whimsical, but there is also a purpose behind the technology for customers to feel more confident in avoiding queue lines and having their order delivered.”

Gita could end up being of service at airports in more ways than contactless meal delivery, Piaggio Fast Forward’s CEO, Greg Lynn, told the Airport Passenger Experience Association. According to the January interview, Lynn said “he envisions the little follow-along robot hauling a passenger’s carry-on goods around the airport before they board a plane, or helping as a passenger-assistance device for travelers with mobility limitations.”