January 19, 2011
Ready to serve, as Bangkok University develops Yumbo, the restaurant robot
After the Chinese robotic waiters, Bangkok University is now developing robotic waiters that can take your order and deliver it to your table as part of the “MK Robot Project”. This is not the first technological innovation at MK Restaurant, Thailand’s largest and most popular chains with more than 300 locations, who have already implemented GPS in their supply chain so human waiters already take customer orders on PDAs. The company is also planning on revamping their inventory system using RFID tags, a technology that will also be added to membership cards to store details like your favorite meals.
In 2009, MK commissioned Thai-based CTAsia Robotics to build 10 meet-and-greet robots nicknamed Din Sow at a cost of 1,000,000 THB ($32,000 USD) each. However, since Din Sow was limited to entertaining customers, Yumbo, who can carry trays, is next in line. The latest prototype stores meals on a food tray in its upper body for accident-free transportation as well as retrieve dirty dishes and utensils. Yumbo will move on wheels and navigate by following lines on the floor. All great in the name of technology, but nothing beats a smile from the cute waiter!