A café in Daejeon, South Korea, has introduced a robot barista to serve customers. It hopes the robot barista will help the café minimize the risk of human-to-human COVID-19 transmission.
The robotic barista consists of a robotic arm that prepares 60 different beverages and wheeled bots that deliver them to customers around the café.
South Korean Café Hires Robot Barista
According to the company behind the robot, Vision Semicon, it hopes the robot barista among other novel fleet of robotic workers could help South Korea adjust to the new normal of social distancing.
Our system needs no input from people from order to delivery, and tables were sparsely arranged to ensure smooth movements of the robots, which fits well with the current ‘untact’ and distancing campaign,” Lee Dong-bae, director of research at Vision Semicon.
Vision Semicon aims to supply a fleet of robots to at least 30 cafes by the end of 2020. It is also working with a science institute on adding machine learning capabilities to enable the robot to create custom beverages.
One downside of the rise of robot assistants is that it comes at the expense of human job cuts. It may bring grim news to South Korea’s youth many of whom have lost their jobs in retail and hospitability amid the pandemic.
Robots started taking human jobs in cafes and restaurants long before the COVID-19 pandemic arrived. Back in December, SoftBank Robotics launched a café in Tokyo which featured dancing robots. A restaurant in Chennai, India featured robotic waiting service.