There was a wide range of next-generation technologies on display at this year’s National Restaurant Association show, which took place May 21-24 at the McCormick Convention Center in Chicago. But no technology made more noise than the robots whirling and twirling around the exhibition floor. While robots came in a variety of different shapes, colors and sizes – and some decidedly more like people and animals than others – and also differing markedly in terms of the abilities and functions they perform. were designed, one thing is clear: robots have come a long way in the past two years and are now poised to revolutionize the restaurant industry. In fact, analysts predict that the market for collaborative robotics and service robotics companies will be $114 billion by 2027.
SwiftBot, from Pudu Robotics, is a next-generation robot that caught the eye of virtually every passer-by and made its global debut at the show. Building on the robust performance of its predecessors, SwiftBot is a versatile delivery robot with improved navigation skills and flexibility. The robot is equipped with powerful perceptual capabilities that allow a distribution of the right of way between itself and the guests by quickly adjusting its trajectory in response to signals from the environment thanks to the integration of multimodal interactions.
At the event, Pudu Robotics showcased seven robots. Alongside two other products launched earlier this year, its first compound delivery robot PUDU A1 and its first quadruped delivery robot PUDU D1, Pudu Robotics has formed an intelligent multi-link and full-chain solution for catering applications equipped with a range of necessary features, including meeting customers, welcoming and guiding to the table, delivering meals, transporting by bus and sterilizing dishes, as part of the smart upgrade process restaurant-wide.
The latest merchandise from Nala Robotics, which ranks as another big player in this space, was also on display at the show. Nala’s innovations include the world’s first fully automated multi-kitchen chef, a customizable robot that uses machine learning to cook endless recipes replicated with exact precision anytime, anywhere. This week, the company unveiled Pizzaiola™, a fully automated, multi-cuisine, 7-axis chef + kitchen robot that operates in a 12′ x 12′ space, providing a complete solution for restaurateurs to easily customize a restaurant from pizzeria style with expanded menu items such as pastas, salads, burgers and wings, among other options.
Equipped with natural language processing capabilities, Pizzaiola is designed to respond to voice commands from the menu at the point of sale or operational commands in the kitchen, saving customers time and dramatically improving productivity. In addition, more than 1,200 parameters are checked every microsecond, ranging from the robot’s field of vision and food quality to the point of sale, guaranteeing safety and increased productivity.
Nala Robotics’ modular solution also gives kitchens the flexibility to choose from a variety of pizza ovens, including traditional, conveyor-style and brick ovens. Other appliances such as fryers, grills, pasta and salad stations can be easily added.
Another big player is KEENON Robotics, which offers its own range of robotic solutions for various scenarios, including restaurants and hotels. KEENON Robotics is a strategic partner of Softbank Robotics and Hyundai Robotics. In September 2021KEENON completed a $200 million Series D funding led by Softbank Vision Fund 2, marking the largest funding ever received by a service robot company.
Among KEENON’s robots that were on display at the show was a server robot that helps human servers serve and turn used dishes efficiently as a food robot, allowing human servers to save time and focus their energy. on customer service, dramatically improving the restaurant’s overall efficiency and level of service. A hotel delivery robot was there too. This robot is designed to be able to take the elevator to any floor and provide room service at any time of the day or night, providing the most reliable, privacy-friendly contactless room delivery services. .
Another KEENON robot greeter broadcasts advertisements on two high-definition digital screens to greet customers or solicit passers-by and guide them to their seats, simultaneously increasing efficiency and providing a fun experience. KEENON even had a disinfection robot. Equipped with professional disinfection lamps and sprayers that effectively kill bacteria and viruses on the surface and in the air, providing efficient and rapid sanitation services in public areas.
KEENON Robotics robots are equipped with a fully autonomous positioning and navigation system in tandem with highly sensitive obstacle perception and avoidance technologies to adapt to a variety of complex real-world application scenarios and enable safe, reliable and efficient service robot solutions.
RichTech Robots, which also provides a range of robotic solutions designed to help restaurants solve operational problems and increase efficiency, also had its share of robots zooming the show floor. The robots are customizable and autonomous and programmed to avoid collisions while navigating around obstacles and work incredibly well while doing so. A robot, dubbed Matradee, is able to open the kitchen doors, allowing deliveries to go from the kitchen to the table.
Bear Robotics, a leading innovator in hospitality robotics and artificial intelligence solutions, today announced the closing of an $81 million Series B funding round. New investor IMM led the round with participation from Cleveland Avenue, LLC and other existing investors. To date, Bear Robotics has raised $117 million in total funding, including a $32 million Series A funding round in January 2020 led by SoftBank.
With headquarters in Silicon Valley and roots in the restaurant industry, Bear Robotics has engineered solutions such as the company’s flagship product named Servi, a fully autonomous all-in-one mobile robotic response to work daily repetitive experience encountered by hotel employees. The new Series B investment will be used to accelerate Bear Robotics’ efforts by adding new products that complement the growing need for automation in the hospitality space and expanding the company’s reach into new markets around the world. .
Using artificial intelligence and self-driving technology, Bear Robotics deploys robots to take care of everything from serving drinks to managing meals and transporting tables, allowing hosts and servers to focus on providing exceptional service. Based in Redwood City, Calif., Bear Robotics’ award-winning robots tackle tough tasks with precision in a range of restaurants, corporate campuses, hotels, ghost kitchens, elderly care and casinos in North America and Asia.