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5 Things
As well as helping to deliver food, Bella can also sing and tell jokes and interact with the residents and their guests.

5 tech things: Singing robot delivers food, clears tables and tells jokes at retirement village

This and a test using drones to deliver hot meals to remote schools in Scotland are some of the tech-related developments you may have missed recently.

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:

  1. Elior uses robot to deliver trays, tell jokes at retirement village

Elior UK has begun trialing autonomous delivery robot Bella Bot at a client retirement village in England, where it delivers four 10-kg trays at once—twice the load capacity of manual delivery—and up to 400 dishes a day while also assisting with clearing the tables, thus freeing up staff to spend more time interacting with the residents. As well as helping to deliver food, Bella can also sing and tell jokes and interact with the residents and their guests.

Read more: Singing robot joins Elior’s catering team as part of new trial

  1. Drones to deliver hot school meals to remote schools in Scotland

Building from the momentum of using drones to transport mail and urgent medical supplies during spikes in the COVID-19 pandemic, drone services and vertiport builder Skyports has agreed to operate a test program in Scotland aimed at launching routine aerial deliveries of hot meals to remote schools in the Highlands and Hebrides islands. The tests are designed to explore how an aerial shuttling of hot lunches aboard craft with rather modest payload limits can be organized and scaled in a way to provide food for all students to be served.

Read more: Skyports tests drone deliveries of meals to schools in Scotland

  1. Panda Express rolls out automated wok system

Asian food chain Panda Express recently unveiled its new Panda Auto Wok (PAW), proprietary technology that it has rolled out to 120 of its units so far, with plans to add them to another 240 before the end of 2022. The new PAW is designed to take on some of the physical labor required for high-volume wok-cooked dishes like the chain's popular fried rice and chow mein, which are produced in larger batches and which traditionally require chefs to manually toss the ingredients over the hot wok as they are simmered together.

Read more: Panda Express unveils new Auto Wok

  1. Project looks to develop sophisticated cleaning robot for large spaces 

ISS, the Danish contract services multi-national that owns FM Top 50 firm ISS Guckenheimer, is part of a partnership on a new innovation project called FacilityCobot to develop a mobile robot that can relieve cleaning staff from repetitive or physically exhausting tasks by using a smart building sensor system with a human robot interface that allows the robot to work efficiently side by side with cleaning staff in large open-space areas such as canteens and offices. “ISS’s ambition is to make FacilityCobot an integrated part of our global offering in the future,” says Anders Dedenroth Høj, Director of Methods & Technology within cleaning at ISS World Services A/S.

Read more: Mobile collaboration robots to automate cleaning tasks in canteens

  1. Drones deliver food, medicine to flood-trapped villagers in India

The Indian Institute of Technology at Guwahati has used drones to deliver medicines and relief materials to hundreds of people trapped for over a week in the floodwaters in India's Assam region. Four multi-rotor drones delivered emergency rations, children's food, sanitary/hygiene products and emergency medicines in easily identifiable red medical kits.

Read more: IIT Guwahati uses drones to deliver food, medicines to flood

Bonus: Sodexo to launch new mobile app

Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]

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