In this special edition of its 5 Things series, Food Management highlights five recent technology-related developments affecting the foodservice world.
Here’s your list for today:
- Segway segues into sidewalk robot delivery market
Electric scooter manufacturer Segway is partnering with delivery robot startup Coco to build 1,000 partially automated, remotely piloted sidewalk robots that will begin deploying in Los Angeles and two other U.S. cities during the first quarter of 2022. Segway has been conducting R&D on robotics for years and even formed a dedicated division in 2016, when it unveiled its Loomo robot, but the partnership with Coco is the first time the company is deploying its “robotic mobile platforms” at scale for delivery.
- Cookie making robot augments sandwich shop’s offerings
A new Smart Cookie cookie-making robot from vendor RoboChef has started producing at the Dipwich sandwich shop in Huntsville, Ala., a concept owned by former Levy Restaurants COO Bill Post, who is also an advisor to RoboChef. In the restaurant, the Smart Cookie unit turns out up to 60 cookies an hour, fulfilling orders customers make remotely, where they can have a chocolate royale, a sugar cookie or a lemon cooler and customize it with six different dry toppings and either drizzled chocolate or caramel for a total of 160 possible variations.
- Pitt signs up with robot farm firm Fifth Season
Pitt Eats at the University of Pittsburgh has recently partnered with robotically operated farm company Fifth Season, which grows greens like spinach and lettuce in a specifically curated biodome in Braddock, just outside of Pittsburgh. Pitt joins Carnegie Mellon and Ohio State University as campuses to which Fifth Season brings fresh greens and food to the dining halls and on-campus dining locations. Pitt is using Fifth Season greens at most of its dining locations, including all dining halls and at mobile food locations like the Smokeland BBQ food truck.
- Automated dining cars travel Beijing streets to serve breakfast
Recently, a series of crewless dining cars appeared in the morning on the streets of Beijing that customers can flag down with a wave. They can then choose a breakfast through the transparent window of the dining car, arrange orders by touching the screen and enjoy fare like steamed stuffed buns, dumplings and soybean milk. The unmanned dining cars are from autonomous driving technology startup Neolix, which has already commercially deployed in over 30 cities in China, as well as six international markets, including Germany, Switzerland, Singapore, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Thailand.
- Drone delivery firm gets approval for expanded operating radius
Food/retail on-demand delivery firm Flytrex has received approval from the FAA to expand its drone delivery radius to one nautical mile across all its operating stations in North Carolina after completing "thousands" of deliveries following its approval in May to operate over people over a more restricted footprint. With over 10,000 potential customers within its new expanded delivery radius, Flytrex offers customers interested in a drone-delivered meal the ability to order via its app with participating stores and restaurants.
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]