A robot bartender prepares a drink at the bar Yoronotaki in Tokyo. Photo: REUTERS/Tim Kelly
tech

Robot bartender starts work at Tokyo pub

24 Comments
By Tim Kelly and Akira Tomoshige

Japan's first robot bartender has begun serving up drinks in a Tokyo pub in a test that could usher in a wave of automation in restaurants and shops struggling to hire staff in an aging society.

The repurposed industrial robot serves drinks in is own corner of a Japanese pub operated by restaurant chain Yoronotaki. An attached tablet computer face smiles as it chats about the weather while preparing orders.

The robot, made by the company QBIT Robotics, can pour a beer in 40 seconds and mix a cocktail in a minute. It uses four cameras to monitors customers to analyse their expressions with artificial intelligence (AI) software.

"I like it because dealing with people can be a hassle. With this you can just come and get drunk," Satoshi Harada, a restaurant worker said after ordering a drink. "If they could make it a little quicker it would be even better."

Finding workers, especially in Japan's service sector, is set to get even more difficult.

The government has eased visa restrictions to attract more foreign workers but companies still face a labor shortage as the population shrinks and the number of people over 65 increases to more than a third of the total.

Service companies that can't relocate overseas or take advantage of automation are more vulnerable than industrial firms. In health care alone, Japan expects a shortfall of 380,000 workers by 2025.

Japan wants to use the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games beginning on July 27 to showcase service robot technology, with organizers planning to use robots built by Toyota Motor and Panasonic Corp to help visitors, workers and athletes.

The robot bartender trial at the pub, which employs about 30 people, will last two months after which Yoronotaki will assess the results.

"We hope it's a solution," Yoshio Momiya, a Yoronotaki manager, said as the robot bartender served drinks behind him. "There are still a number of issues to work through, such as finding enough space for it, but we hope it will be something we can use."

At about 9 million yen, the robot cost as much as employing a human bartender for three years.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2020.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

24 Comments
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Looks cool! I'd love to have my beers poured and highballs mixed by a robot. I can definitely see this expanding throughout Japan in coming years, tourists would love it! It's a start, and ultimately robots will be staffing hotels, convenis, bars and hospitals.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

This is a co-bot from Universal Robots. It does not cost ¥9m! My company just bought the exact same model for ¥3m. They are fun and easy to work with. Programming is also not that difficult.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Ladies won't be impressed though, but more guys will be.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

NICE !!!...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"This is a co-bot from Universal Robots"

This JT article says otherwise.

"The robot, made by the company QBIT Robotics,"

And;

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-7970905/A-Japanese-restaurant-chain-struggling-workers-hired-robotic-bartender-instead.html

"The robot was designed by QBIT Robotics, which developed a similar robot arm server for a small takout pasta restaurant."

Not exactly the same, is it?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Does the robot become more attractive as the night goes on ?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Fighto!Today  06:59 am JST

Looks cool! I'd love to have my beers poured and highballs mixed by a robot. I can definitely see this expanding throughout Japan in coming years, tourists would love it!

It’s a robotic arm. What’s cool with that? I’ve been.to places where you put a glass or a cup underneath a dispenser, liquid comes out, and you drink it. I am sure you’d think that was cool as well.

It's a start, and ultimately robots will be staffing hotels, convenis, bars and hospitals.

You seem to have an obsession with robots taking every possible role that people currently have in Japan. Odd.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@Peeping_Tom : The articles are wrong. I should know. I just bought the exact same robot.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Why not just have a vending machine that serves premixed drinks and beer

2 ( +2 / -0 )

No tip for the 'bot. No human interaction, either. Another chilling story to go with the 'bot orchestra "conductor". I'm sure robotics is going to continue to make progress, but simply replacing the humanoid...surely there are better applications?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The articles are wrong. I should know. I just bought the exact same robot.

The article talks of a "repurposed industrial robot". Is it possible the base industrial robot was built by Universal Robots (they seem to specialize in industrial robots) and modified by QBIT Robotics?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Repurposed industrial robot ... an attached Tablet Computer smiles ...

So retrenched factory robot gets bartender job!

Not sure if redundancy payments would have been made

Hmm -

world-first, or post(-human)-Industrial Age has begun.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In 5 years there'll probably be robot customers ordering and drinking there!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The article talks of a "repurposed industrial robot". Is it possible the base industrial robot was built by Universal Robots (they seem to specialize in industrial robots) and modified by QBIT Robotics?

QBIT just make the end effector part.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"QBIT just make the end effector part."

Or so you say.

Links to a credible site to prove such assertiveness, please.

In the absence of a source other than your words, the article(s) are correct.

And you're wrong.

That's how it works.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

In the absence of a source other than your words, the article(s) are correct.

And you're wrong.

That's how it works.

No, that's not how it works. If it's correct, it's correct, if it's wrong, it's wrong. The absence of a source doesn't change that. The source only provides more information that one can use to make a personal determination as to whether it is correct or not. The source doesn't define the correctness, or lack thereof.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Decades ago, when I lived in London, there was a pub featured on the TV where the tables had a small nozzle and a mini jukebox style gizmo on the table. People pushed a button, (this is before touchscreens) and the nozzle dished out their drink order. They didn't even have to get up. So its not that hard to do.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"No, that's not how it works. If it's correct, it's correct, if it's wrong, it's wrong. The absence of a source doesn't change that. The source only provides more information that one can use to make a personal determination as to whether it is correct or not. The source doesn't define the correctness, or lack thereof."

So I see.

A source from an inventor/producer/manufacturer is less than credible than your personal online views.

https://www.gimatic.com/so-2/

Yeah, I get it.

As you know (as I expect) the Copernican heliocentrism had to be proved.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"https://yellrobot.com/robot-bartender-testing-in-tokyo/"

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

An option, but never replacement. Call in sick, running late, on holiday...I think so. Personal and social behavioral skill - I think not. But wouldn't mind having one at home.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A source from an inventor/producer/manufacturer is less than credible than your personal online views.

This sentence is a grammatical nightmare, but you seem to be referring to views of mine, even though I haven't stated any.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"This sentence is a grammatical nightmare, "

Me knows; I is werking at da same time.

Seriously, my bad; was still at my work desk and just posted minus reading it (one of the Senior Partners was around). Too late when I spotted it.

Also, I was thinking in Legis terminology when referring to sources, e.g. primary, secondary et al.

Usually I post when at work; no time to correct anything.

Sorry for that too

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Cyberpunk and futuristic as heck!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Hey R2D2, Max Rebo needs you! He wants to drink a cool Red Dwarf before he and his band start their gig on Jabba's barge.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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