"Here's your latte Tea Rooibos almonds, please enjoy. It's even better if you stir it, "it says, as a customer reaches into a tray installed inside the large, gleaming white, capsule-shaped robot for her drink.
South Korea, having managed to contain an outbreak of the new coronavirus that infected more than 11,000 and killed 269, is slowly moving from intensive social distancing rules to what the government calls "distancing in everyday life."
Robots might help people watch social distance in public, said Lee Dong-bae, research director at Vision Semicon, the smart factory solution provider that developed the barista robot.
"Our system does not need input from people for delivery, and tables are sparsely arranged to ensure that the robots move smoothly, which fits well with the current distancing campaign," he said.
The system, which uses a robotic arm for coffee making and a serving robot, can make 60 different types of coffee and serve customers at their seats with the drinks. It can also communicate and transmit data to other devices, and includes self-driving technology to calculate the cafe's best routes.
It took just seven minutes to order six drinks, which were processed through a kiosk. A patissier who also has certain cleaning duties and refills ingredients was the only human employee at the two-storey cafe.
South Korean ???? cafe hires #robot barista to help with #SocialDistancing@wef#Coronavirus #COVID?19 #AI #Robotics #Automation #FutureOfWork@alvinfoo @chboursin @mvollmer1 @NevilleGaunt @DrJDrooghaag @DigitalColmer @Victoryabro @Dahl_Consult @kalydeoo @PawlowskiMario @robvank pic.twitter.com/urid6PFotV— Franco Ronconi ???? (@FrRonconi) May 26, 2020
This year the manufacturer is aiming to supply robots to at least 30 cafes. It is also working on an upgrade with a state-run scientific institute that would add big data and artificial intelligence technology to make custom beverages.
"Robots are fun and it was easy as you don't have to pick up your order," said Lee Chae-mi, 23, a student.
"But I'm also a bit worried about the job market, as many of my friends do part-time jobs in cafes and those robots would replace people."
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