Heading To The Olympics? Your Drinks Could Be Served By A Robot
Worried about robots stealing your job? According to a new trial in Japan, you probably should be.
A robot is currently serving up drinks in a Tokyo pub as part of a landmark trial that could usher a wave of automation in restaurants and shops that are struggling to hire staff.
It can pour a beer in 40 seconds and you can forget about the often long wait for your cocktail because, according to QBIT Robotics, it can also mix a cocktail in a minute.
The robot uses four cameras to monitor customers and analyses their expressions with artificial intelligence (AI) software. An attached tablet computer face also smiles as it chats about the weather while preparing orders.
“I like it because dealing with people can be a hassle. With this you can just come and get drunk,” Satoshi Harada, a restaurant worker told Reuters.
“If they could make it a little quicker it would be even better.”
In countries like Japan, finding employees to work in the services sector is difficult.
The government has eased visa restrictions to lure more foreign workers but companies still face a labor shortage as the population shrinks and the number of people aged older than 65 grows.
And with the Tokyo 2020 Olympic virtually around the corner, Japan wants to show off its service robot technology, with organisers reportedly planning to use robots built by Toyota Motor and Panasonic Corp to help visitors, workers and athletes.
The robot is serving drinks in is own corner of a Japanese pub, which employs 30 people, operated by restaurant chain Yoronotaki.
The trial will last two months after which the company will assess the results.
“There are still a number of issues to work through, such as finding enough space for it, but we hope it will be something we can use," Yoshio Momiya, a Yoronotaki manager, said.
But it comes with a hefty price tag.
At about 9 million yen (AU$122,000), the robot cost as much as employing a human bartender for about two years.