Mark Byrnes is a senior associate editor at CityLab who writes about design and architecture.
A London fast food chain tests out its new robotic wait staff, to somewhat disastrous results.
UK-based Yo! Sushi, a Japanese fast food chain, is known for its embrace of efficiency, using the Japanese style 'kaiten' conveyor belt to serve sushi. Its newest attempt at automation comes in the form of a drone, operated by employees via iPad.
The drone has two cameras built into it, allowing the controller behind the iPad to guide the food to patrons safely and efficiently. Or at least that's the intention.
Harry Wollop of the Telegraph was unimpressed with his experience, writing yesterday, "if this is the future, then it comes with very large dry cleaning bills. And cold burgers." The third attempt to deliver his food resulted in the food getting caught in an updraft, slicing through the blades of the device and "causing carbohydrate shrapnel to go flying in all directions."
According to the Guardian, the restaurant's drone is being tested outside with "polystyrene food and prawn crackers." Human servers need more training as drone operators, with one of Yo! Sushi's servers struggling to initially get it off the ground or controlling it once airborne (see video here). As reported yesterday by Homa Khaleeli of the Guardian:
Instead of flying serenely in front of him and landing gently on the table, the machine drunkenly lurches around at knee height, crashing into camera tripods and chairs or just the ground, as the pilot mutters darkly about the wind factor and low batteries. Its rotor blades are said to be powerful enough to speed it along at 20mph, at a range of 50m, but they also mean that when the tray tilts and the prawn crackers fall out they are chopped and sprayed through the area.
As it heads dangerously close to the road, and passers-by swerve out of the way, I am told that it worked perfectly in the workshop.
Below, via Reuters, less traumatic images of the test run in London: