'Bot Scootin Boogie, Dallas is a Hotbed for Robotics
Also: Aggies go for a Picnic, a faux-bot bartender? And Cartken books room at the AC Hotel.
The Dalls Cow-’bots
Listen y’all, the only Texas town I’ve been to is Austin. And that was to attend SXSW or the Austin City Limits music festival (saw a fantastic set by TV on the Radio). But it looks like I’m going to have to book a ticket to Dallas because that’s where the robots are headed.
You may think a famously tech city like San Francisco would be home to the most food-related robots — but you’d be WRONG. Dallas, Texas is quickly becoming the belle of the autonomous food ‘bot ball. Consider:
Autonomous middle mile delivery truck company Gatik opened an autonomous trucking facility in the Dallas-Fort Worth area last year.
Dallas is one of the cities where Kroger is building an automated grocery fulfillment center.
Vroom is using Tortoise delivery robots to make deliveries from the Urban Value Corner Store in downtown Dallas.
Earlier this month, Flytrex announced it was expanding its drone delivery service to the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Alphabet’s Wing drone delivery service is prepping for an already announced launch in Dallas.
Starship’s robots deliver meals to students at the University of Texas in Dallas.
NowCuisine, which makes a robot-restaurant-in-a-kiosk, is headquartered in Dallas.
Just this week Coco announced that it was launching in Austin, Texas with Dallas and Houston soon to follow.
Dallas, it seems, is really pushing hard to be the leading U.S. city for autonomy (yes, I know Coco and Tortoise ‘bots are teleoperated and not autonomous, don’t @ me, bro). Last month, the Dallas City Council approved $3 million in tax breaks to lure Ford and its autonomous vehicle initiative. NBCDFW reported Dallas Mayor Pro-Tem Chad West saying at the time “This is the wave of the future and Dallas can either be on the forefront of it or we can give up that opportunity to another city like Houston or Oklahoma City.”
It should be noted that Houston, Texas also has its own thriving robot scene with the likes of Nuro, Bear Robotics, and Starship all running in that city as well. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that Miami is quickly gunning for a top spot for food robots. Bear Robotics’ Servi is already shuttling food around Sergio’s in Miami while Kiwibot, Cartken (more on that below) and Coco will all have robots scurrying around its sidewalks soon enough.
So is there a lesson here? I mean, the main one is make sure your city is built in a sunny part of the country (easier for self-driving vehicles to navigate) that is relatively flat (easier on the batteries) and have a pro-autonomous vehicle city council (ahem - Toronto, we’re looking at you). Otherwise, you’re going to have to wait a bit for those ‘bots.
As always, if you live in Dallas and see any of these robots in action, take a pic or video and send them to us!
Attend Foodservice Robotics Pioneers Summit March 7 - 9 at the Horeca Professional Expo in Madrid Spain
Foodservice Robotics Pioneers is the leading event to discover the game-changing
technologies in automation for the Horeca sector, held within the framework of HIP - Horeca Professional Expo.
In the showroom area, robotics companies and automation firms that are revolutionizing the industry will exhibit their latest innovations, along with a Robotics Summit at HIP 2022 with some of the world's leading experts and global top players.
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Texas A&M Aggies > University of Texas Longhorns (in Food Robots)
Man, there is a Texas-sized batch of Texas-related news in today’s newsletter (next week — Delaware!)(kidding). This week, Chartwells Higher Education foodservice announced that it has deployed Picnic’s pizza assembly robot at Texas A&M University (that makes it 1 food robot for the Aggies to 0 for the UT Longhorns).
The robot is already up and running and marks the first installation at a university for Picnic. As I explain on the site (and honestly, you could probably guess this→), universities will be a huge vertical for pizza robots like Picnic’s. Read on to see why.
Much ado was made of the robots serving food and beverages at the Beijing Winter Olympics right now. Both NBC and Bloomberg had pieces on the restaurant robot with food carried by rails, Orionstar’s Coffee Master serving gold medal winner Eileen Gu a pour over, and a bartender robot mixing up cocktails.
But about that bot-ender… It looked a lot like Makr Shakr’s robot mixologist, but when I reached out to Makr Shakr, a rep said it was not theirs. In fact they had a bunch of questions about that Olympic robot because the setup was so similar to Makr Shakr’s.
While you’re at it, be sure to check out the OttOmate Guide to Robot Bartenders.
AC Hotel Enlists Cartken for Robo-Food Delivery
I’ve said before that hotels will be a big beneficiary of food and drink robotics. And it looks like The AC Hotel is taking a step in that direction. The AC announced this week that it’s using Cartken’s sidewalk robots to provide food delivery to hotel guests.
The robots will go out and retrieve food from restaurants at the nearby Dadeland Mall and bring it back to the AC lobby for guests to pick up. Read the full story to see why this is smart for the hotel, good for guests, and quite possibly a big opportunity for Cartken.
The OttOmate Market Guide to Sidewalk Delivery Robots
Speaking of sidewalk robots, ICYMI, we launched the OttOmate Guide to Sidewalk Delivery Robots presented by ARO. From Bizero to Yandex, OttOmate highlights all the major players in the space.
ARO provides complete robot lifecycle services to help robotics companies scale across North America. For more information, visit aroptions.com/robotics
Miso Robotics is Hiring!
Miso Robotics is writing an epic new story for the restaurant industry. We've developed a robotic kitchen assistant, Flippy, that can perform a variety of kitchen tasks including flipping burgers and running the deep fryer. Our product is a robotic arm on a rail that fits into existing kitchens along existing cook lines and is designed to work with existing equipment alongside kitchen workers. Under the hood, Flippy relies on our platform which combines deep learning and other computer vision technologies with optimization-based scheduling and nonlinear control to adapt quickly to a variety of kitchen workflows, while achieving graceful and efficient motion.
Miso Robotics has a number of hardware and software positions currently open in their Pasadena, Caflifornia office including Applications Engineer, ML Robotics Research Engineer, Robot Support Specialist and more!
OttOmate subscribers can post job listings for free! Just email me the details!
That’s it for this week. Thanks for reading!
Stay cool. Have a great summer. Class of ‘90 rulez.