Bear Robotics, a robotics and artificial intelligence company, and SoftBank Robotics Group have collaborated to bring a new robot named Servi to the foodservice and hospitality field. The announcement comes as Japanese restaurants are experiencing a labor crisis as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic curbs.
Servi measures 445 x 430 x 1046 mm and weighs 33 kg and is designed for a payload of up to 30 kg. Each unit is capable of loading two trays and has a drawer for collecting dishes, thanks to which it is able to replace or at least support waiters in a restaurant. It is equipped with a 3D camera and LiDAR sensor for navigation and a touch screen, and can also be operated remotely via tablet.
It can work full-time, in particular – depending on the configuration – from 8 to 12 hours on a single charge, according to the specifications released by Bear Robotics. The design is simple and functional, without appealing to the humanoid forms of the Pepper robot from Softbank Robotics, or the quadruped design of Spot, from Boston Dynamics, both companies belonging to Softbank.
The food serving robot can move around the room, detecting obstacles and avoiding them, in particular, avoiding collisions with visitors. He is able to deliver orders and act as an assistant waiter, taking dirty dishes to the sink. The versatility of the robot is ensured by replaceable trays. Several robots can work simultaneously. Servi is said to improve the efficiency of the establishment and the quality of customer service.
The only question is whether it will be profitable for restaurateurs. Servi will be launched in Japan in January and will require operating costs of 99,800 yen or around the US $950 per month, excluding taxes for the three-year plan.