Robot baristas are now operating in some coffee shops in South Korea and remind owners to practice social distancing.
Robots Providing Zero Human Contact Interaction
A cafe in Daejeon, South Korea uses a robot barista to take orders, and handle and serve customers. This barista is both efficient and courteous towards its guests and makes it seamless for the customers to continue their everyday lives as if interacting with a regular server.
The robot can speak as well saying, "Here is your Rooibos almonds tea latte, please enjoy. It's even better if you stir it," while the drink is ready and installed within the large, shiny, white shaped robot.
After the coronavirus seems to be contained within South Korea, which has taken the lives of over 267 people and infecting 11,000 people in the country, South Korea appears to be transitioning back to everyday lives except vigorous social distancing rules in which the government is calling it "distancing in life."
Lee Dong-bae, director of research at Vision Semicon, has said robots could be one of the solutions for managing social distancing with other people and was responsible for creating the barista robot together with a state-run science firm.
He said, "Our system needs no input from people from order to delivery, and tables were sparsely arranged to ensure smooth movements of the robots, which fits well with the current 'untact' and distancing campaign,"
A New Reality
The system uses an efficient robot to serve over 60 different kinds of coffee, while the customers are waiting on their seats. It can also communicate and transmit data seamlessly to other devices. This technology also features self-drive and includes a calculation of finding the best routes around the cafe for quicker travel.
Customers who ordered six drinks through a kiosk waited for only six minutes--the time to serve the customers only shows how fast the robot works in providing orders. Besides the robot, there is only one human employee who is a patissier that refills the ingredients and general cleaning around the cafe.
A student, Lee Chae-mi who has experienced being served by the robot said, "Robots are fun, and it was easy because you don't have to pick up your order," and added, "But I'm also a bit of worried about the job market as many of my friends are doing part-time jobs at cafes and these robots would replace humans."
The state-owned firm plans to provide at least 30 cafes with seamless robots within this year to practice social distancing to bring life back to normal, at least to some extent. We can only see where the trend would go and if humans' jobs would be increasingly difficult to acquire now, given the pandemic.