Chinese robot maker PuduTech is showing off its new restaurant robot, the BellaBot, at CES tomorrow. The autonomous bot features four trays for carrying food, avoidance capabilities and cat-like features.
We don’t mean cat-like in that it has a general antipathy towards humans and darts under sofa’s at the drop of a hat. Rather, BellaBot features a screen with a cat-like face and raised “ears” built into its design.
BellaBot is reminiscent of Bear Robotics’ (another animalized robot name) Penny. Both are made for the front of house at restaurants, sport trays for carrying food, and are dispatched to drive themselves to the customer’s table.
What makes BellaBot different is its feline inclinations. Rub the robot’s ears and its “face” will change to an appreciate expression much like a cat’s would. And, also much like a cat, if you pet it for too long, BellaBot “gets mad to remind you not to interrupt its job,” according to the press announcement.
You can see it in action in this video from PuduTech:
At CES BellaBot will also be joined by HolaBot, another new robot from PuduTech. HolaBot is basically a busser robot, returning dirty dishes back to the kitchen for cleaning. HolaBot has a 120L enclosed cabin with three levels of trays each able to hold 20kg. HolaBot can carry 120 small plates, 39 large plates and 33 bowls in a single trip.
PuduTech’s robots are being made for restaurants in China that don’t have enough waiters. The BellaBot is actually the next generation of PuduTech’s similar PuduBot, which doesn’t have the feline fun. PuduBot is already in use in more than 2,000 restaurants around the world, according to the company.
Robots like the BellaBot and Penny are arriving at a time when more of a restaurant’s business is moving towards delivery and off-premises. There will always be restaurants to dine in, but as delivery options become more available and more popular, how much automation will the restaurant industry actually need? Robo-cats, however, will probably always have a market.