SoftBank brings food service robot to labour-strapped Japan


The robot named Servi has layers of trays and is equipped with 3D cameras and Lidar sensors for navigation. — Reuters

TOKYO: SoftBank's robotics arm said on Sept 28 that it will bring a food service robot developed by California-based Bear Robotics to Japan as restaurants grapple with labour shortages and seek to ensure social distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The robot named Servi, which has layers of trays and is equipped with 3D cameras and Lidar sensors for navigation, will launch in January, SoftBank Group Corp said.

Servi will cost 99,800 yen (RM3,949) per month excluding tax on a three year plan.

The launch leverages SoftBank's long experience in bringing overseas technology to Japan but reflects the shift away from CEO Masayoshi Son's earlier focus on humanoid robots.

Servi has been tested by Japanese restaurant operators, including Seven & i Holdings at its Denny's chain, as the sector grapples with an ageing workforce and deepening labour shortages.

SoftBank's humanoid Pepper robot became the face of the company following its 2014 unveiling but failed to find a global customer base.

The firm in 2018 announced cleaning robot Whiz, which employs technology from group portfolio company Brain Corp and has sold more than 10,000 units worldwide.

SoftBank is touting the use of Whiz as a coronavirus countermeasure, and said on Sept 28 that Pepper can be used in conjunction with thermal sensors to monitor customers.

The move comes as Son has shifted from operating businesses to making investments in recent years. Earlier this month SoftBank announced the sale of cellphone distributor Brightstar as it cuts links to the telecoms industry.

SoftBank also owns Boston Dynamics, which developed the four-legged robot Spot. – Reuters

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 0
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!
   

Next In Tech News

Google AI chatbot Bard offers inaccurate information in company ad
U.S. Treasury urges financial firms to examine cloud services
Google says to soon add generative AI features in search results
Elon Musk to unveil Tesla's 'Master Plan 3' at first investor day
Intel wants 10 billion euros of government funding for plant in Germany -Handelsblatt
Alibaba says it is developing ChatGPT AI tool
Britain says Microsoft's 'Call of Duty' deal could harm gamers
AI supercharges battle of web search titans
Uber sets sights on profits in 2023 as pandemic pain eases
Study: The majority of jobs now require digital skills

Others Also Read