Robot Bartender Testing in Tokyo

We’ve seen robot bartenders begin to pop up in cities around the world. They should provide useful for their precision and ability to work around the clock in an industry that counts every dollar and every drop. Tokyo is the latest place to experiment with putting artificial intelligence behind the bar.

Japan’s first robot bartender is being tested behind the bar at the Zeroken Robo Tavern. The pub is located in the busy Ikebukuro Train Station and is operated by restaurant chain Yoronotaki.

Japanese Robot Bartender Pours Beer in 40 Seconds

Made by QBIT Robotics, the repurposed industrial robot can pour a beer in 40 seconds and mix cocktails in under one minute. Customers pay for their drinks at an automated payment kiosk and receive a QR code. The robot then scans the receipt and gets to work on the drink.

While the drink is being made an onboard digital computer face smiles and chats with the customer. To make sure everyone is happy, four cameras on the robot will analyze their expressions with AI software.

“We hope it’s a solution. 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,” said Yoshio Momiya, a Yoronotaki manager.

Japanese Robot Bartender Tokyo - YellRobot
credit: Reuters

Robot Costs as Much as Employing a Human for Three Years

As far as costs go, the robot costs about $82,000 which is roughly as much as employing a human bartender for three years. It’s not all about cutting costs and increasing precision. Japan is facing a major labor shortage and the service industry will be especially hard hit over the next few years.

After the 2 month trial, Yoronotaki will assess the results and decide if it wants to make the robot bartender a permanent fixture at the pub that employs 30 people. Japan is planning to use the 2020 Tokyo games as a showcase of its turn to robotics and artificial intelligence. Companies such as Toyota and Panasonic will be employing their robots in all phases of the events.

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

Check out our articles on Facebook training robots to navigate without a map and drones patrolling the skies of Tokyo.