Not just a matter of modern tech branding, but in fact linked to the rising labor costs in the country, JD. com, the second e-commerce giant in China, is planning the launch of a restaurant chain fully staffed by robots.
With this move JD.com faces Alibaba’s launch in 2017 of Tao Cafe cashier less Amazon Go like concept. JD also introduces with its kitchen bot venues a new smart restaurant concept in the Chinese landscape that adds choice for consumers as it did Alibaba’s Hema foodcourt and retail espace.
First robo-restaurant by JD.com is expected to open next August. There robots not only will serve , but also will be able to cook up to 40 dishes featuring different recipes from all over China.
The e-commerce giant aims to have around 1,000 restaurants, both company owned and franchised, fully operative by 2020.
This is another step in JD’s bet for automated retail, that includes to date not only fully automated sorting centers, or retail stores (like its unmanned convenience stores launched in December 2017), but also unmanned delivery systems, through drones or fully autonomous vehicles, as well as new retail services such as virtual testers or an AI writing robot to improve JD’s online shopping content.
Drone delivery systems
Last year, JD announced several agreements to start off its drone delivery service.
JD signed a strategic cooperation pact with the municipal government of Hangcheng, in Shaanxi Province, to set up the first urban drone delivery platform in the world. Additionally, the company tested its automated delivery vehicle and logistics facilities to build Hancheng City into a model city for smart logistics.
The company also reached an agreement with Linyou County, for the construction of a general aviation system serving the entire county, powered by JD’s smart logistics technology. New logistics capabilities will advance Linyou’s agricultural industry by modernizing the transport of agricultural products using drones.
Delivery through unmanned vehicles
JD launched an unmanned delivery vehicle last 18th January 2018 in Tianjin to make the city more efficient. In cooperation with the Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area (TEDA), JD will seek to leverage its big data, AI and other advanced technologies to support Tianjin’s smart city initiative. JD and the Tianjin government marked the launch of the strategic partnership with the debut of JD’s autonomous delivery vehicles in Tianjin. After extensive testing in campus environments, this is the first time the vehicles will be used in a public, urban setting.
A trend all over the world, turned into reality, not only in China
Perhaps that of China is an extreme case in the robo-retail and smart retail field, but early experiences in this segment have been carried out in other countries such as Spain, Japan, UK or Germany, just to mention some.
As of drone delivery services is to do Correos launched in Spain a test service of this kind for remote areas in the year 2015.
Amazon, Rakuten, Dominos’s Pizza and other e-commerce retailers are testing drone delivery services for years.
But focusing just on restaurants and hotel concepts, the British Yo! Burger (belonging to Yo! restaurants), made mini-drones serve the commands right to the very table of the client thanks to the i-tray concept. YO! Burger opened doors for amarket test in 2013.
This was another step in the automated concepts owned by the company that brought the first sushi conveyor belt restaurant to the West.
Also in London, Inamo restaurants are using an special smart table and command service for years.
Going even further than executing a given recipe, or the unmanned delivery, IBM Foodtruck enhanced chef’s creativity through Watson for the first time at SXSW 2014.
The first Watson AI powered hotel robot concierge called Connie was launched in 2016 by Hilton. And the first AI powered robo front desk for an hotel became operative last year in Japan.
There are many food retail concepts and convenience stores fully automated relying on vending machines, central kitchens and smartphones. This is the case of the Bingo Box by Auchan (developed for the Chinese Market).
Eastwind introduced to their readers Macco, the first robo barman in the world, on our You Tube channel (eastwindmagazine) in January 2014. Showcases at CES Asia 2015, there’s already a home robotic kitchen concept developed by Moley Robotics targeting, in principle, the smarthome consumer electronics market.
In Eastwind platform and social media channels we have told about or shown all these advances and more of the kind, but being honest, that of JD in China is the first large scale deployment of a fully robotized kitchen inside a restaurant we meet.
Image over the headline.- Moley Robotics Kitchen bot won the CES Asia Best Award in 2015. © Moley Robotics
Related Eastwind links (old platform):
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