New food service robot to enter service in Japan this January

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SoftBank Robotics Group, a leading Japanese robotics manufacturer and solutions provider, and Bear Robotics, a California-based robotics and artificial intelligence company, have jointly developed a new robot specifically for the food service and hospitality field, called ‘Servi’. The robot will begin operations in Japan from January 2021, with a three-year lease plan available for US$950 a month, according to a Reuters report.

Each robot can hold two trays and includes an integrated waste bin to help clear tables after serving. Measuring 445 x 430 x 1,046mm and weighing 33kg, Servi can carry loads of up to 30kg and has a battery life of 8-12 hours. The robot can be controlled via an external tablet or an integrated touchscreen, and relies on cameras and LiDAR to navigate.

The two companies claim that working together has enabled them to meet a surge in demand for autonomous indoor robots in restaurants and other dining venues, driven by ongoing labour issues that are particularly acute in Japan, with its low birth rate and declining population.

Servi comes with additional features like bussing, drink delivery, and patrol mode,” according to the official SoftBank press release. “This will allow restaurant and dining hall owners to maximise their operating efficiency, while also elevating service quality to customers.”

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