The restaurant CJ Foodville has a new server clocking in at its Cheiljemyunso location in Seoul, South Korea — though this one probably won’t accept tips. ZDNet writes that LG’s CLoi ServeBot is now autonomously shuttling food to tables and taking away empty dishes.
The CLoi ServeBot is self-driving robot with four vertically stacked trays that can navigate around tables and people (even playing music to give bystanders a heads up that its approaching). The ServeBot also features an LED screen that shows facial expressions.
It’s not a surprise that these ServeBots are working at CJ Foodville. The restaurant chain formed a partnership with LG last year to develop a number of different food robots. This past November, CJ Foodville installed an LG ChefBot at its Veeps buffet restaurant to cook up noodles.
The CLoi ServeBot is among a wave of server robots hitting restaurants in Asia and beyond. Bear Robotics just raised $32 million to scale up its Penny server robot. And PuduTech’s BellaBot, which sports LED feline features instead of human ones, showed off its server robot at CES this year.
All of them, however, do basically the same thing — cart plates around. That’s not to denigrate the engineering feat that a self-driving, dish-carrying robot is. It’s more that these robots are on a path from being a novelty to becoming a commodity. What features can a company add that will really set their robots apart from the competition?
Thankfully for those in the server robot space, there are plenty of restaurants in the world, so there’s plenty of potential robot business to go around.