Engineers have long built bots to compete in robot waiter competitions. It was generally a pretty hilarious competition, with robots banging into each other, and accidentally serving snacks to garbage cans. Finally, the technology is ready for the real world and a restaurant in Zhejiang, China has opted for robots over waitresses.
The robots use optical sensors to navigate the restaurant by following thick, black lines on the floor. In addition to serving food, the bots can also greet customers with a red, glowing LED smile and utter 40 phrases in Mandarin.
The robots require minimal downtown, compared to a human employee: it only takes eight hours to fully charge the bot. Each robot costs approximately $9,400 and is expected to last five years. The restaurant manager insists he’ll save money on staff in the long run.
It’s worth noting, however, that the eatery, isn’t fully automated. Watch the video below carefully, and you’ll notice a staffer sweeping up in the background. It’s surprising a human was hired for that job, and not a Roomba!