Fancy being served by “flying waiters”? No, these aren’t people who have had too much red bull, they are aerial drones which are soon to be used in one of the Timbre Group restaurants in Singapore.
These drones are being produced by Infinium Robotics and are expected to increase productivity by 25% as it cuts down on staff shuffling between the kitchen and the dining room area. The drones will be able to hover above human height before then landing into a docking station for waiters to take the plates to the tables. These nimble little helpers are collision proof due to the infra-red sensors placed around the restaurant which allow them to detect obstacles in their surrounding environment and automatically re-balance themselves if the weight on them is unevenly distributed. The path that these mechanical employees follow have been mapped out by a computer programme in advance and so the server-drones can be left to autonomously fly themselves.
The Singaporean government has been keen to slow immigration which has put a significant curb on cheap foreign labour. Unfortunately, young Singaporeans are quick to shun the service industry due to the low wages on offer and the perceived low social status. The labour supply shortage has reached a point where several Singaporean restaurants have had to close down. These server-drones should help to solve this growing labour shortage.
Many are undecided as of yet whether this is actually going to be a real time saver or just a gimmick worth a seven figure sum. Regardless, it’ll be a step in seeing how humans and robots can work alongside each other in the work place.