How Your Startup Can Take Off at Airports
Plus Ottobots roll out, material lessons, Spanish robots, Dublin launches and Toronto bans.
OttOmate’s Airport Event Has Landed (Watch it Now!)
Show me a food automation startup and I’ll show you a company that wants to get into airports.
With their high-volumes of customers looking to grab a quick bite or drink at all hours of the day, airports are the perfect location for robot baristas, bartenders, bakers and more.
But airports are also steeped in bureaucracy and layers of administration and, lest we forget, bulked up security procedures.
So if you are a nascent startup with a
killer friendly food robot, where do you begin?
Answering that question is exactly why I put together the OttOmate Airport Event. It’s a collection of fireside chats with the people who are working at and with airports today. These talks walk you through how long it takes to get into an airport, security issues that you need to think about, the fees that come with installation, and why you need to visit any airport you want your machine in.
All of these sessions are available right now:
Seattle Airport Commissioner Sam Cho provides a quick checklist that every startup should complete before approaching an airport
Set up pre- or post-security? Yo-Kai’s Amanda Tsung dishes on her location picking process
How to weather a global pandemic - From $100 a day in sales in January to more than $11,000 in one November week with Cafe X’s Henry Hu
Deglin Kenealy of Basil Street talks about working with a foodservice vendor to make the airport process easier
Even at airports, cashierless stores are about labor, with Zippin’s Krishna Motukuri
Autonomous delivery robots have finally landed at airports, Ottonomy’s Ritukar Vijay and Crave’s April Cho explain how they did it
But wait! This event isn’t just for startups. If you work at an airport (or know someone who does), the companies featured are all cutting-edge and have airport experience! They’d probably be a good fit for any major or regional airport.
A big thank you to all the speakers who participated. While you don’t need a ticket or to block off time to experience our Airport Event, you do need to be a paid OttOmate subscriber (it’s less than $5/week — a bargain compared with how much you could make at an airport!).
Ottobots, Roll Out!.. at CVG Airport
In a bit of perfect timing, not only is Ottonomy’s CEO, Ritukar Vijay a guest at our Airport Event, but his company announced this morning that its robots are now making food and beverage deliveries at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport (CVG). As far as we know, this is the first autonomous robot delivery program in an airport environment.
Paid OttOmate subscribers learn about the latest food robots before anyone else. Like RoboChef’s cookie-making robot, which we introduced to the world a week before other publications finally covered it.
Like the hottest of tracks on Spotify, the latest installment of the OttOmate Guide to NSF Certification dropped this week. Part three (in our eight-part series) focuses on materials.
Does your machine have stainless steel? Unplated copper? Wood? All of the above? Then you better make sure they are being used properly to ensure maximum food safety.
Ann Willems, Business Lead Product Certification - EMEA Region at NSF Belgium introduces you to the material issues with your materials. From Willems’ post:
One standard that can apply to commercial food equipment is NSF/ANSI 51-2017: Food Equipment Materials, which establishes minimum public health and sanitation requirements for materials used in the construction of the equipment. These requirements comply with the U.S. FDA Code of Federal Regulations Title 21.
Before explaining these requirements, let’s address a common misconception that, in order to be NSF certified, all materials and components that are part of a final product need to be NSF certified as well. This is not the case! NSF can qualify any non-listed materials and components if they meet the requirements noted below. However, using NSF certified materials and components can help reduce time and cost.
Materials in any zone, even if not in contact with food, must be:
Easily cleanable by hand (not via dishwasher)
And be sure to read all the stories in our guide, collected in one place for you right here.
The Robot Rain in Spain
Spain has quietly become a hot spot for food robot activity. This week Delivers.AI announced that it will launch robot delivery service in Madrid in January of 2022. To do this, Delivers.AI has partnered with speedy grocery delivery service Glovo, autnomous vehicle startup Goggo and the civil non-profit Madrid Futuro.
Back on the site, I explain why this is the latest cue that robot delivery is poised to take off in a big way next year.
Elsewhere in Spain, DAX Robotics has been hard at work building its XCHEFF and XBEER food and beverage bots. I had the chance to do an email Q&A exchange with DAX CEO Aaron Rojas who detailed some specifics about his robots, what to expect from future versions, and why he’s in Dubai.
The news this week, of course, doesn’t even count Macco Robotics, which is developing its own beer bots down in Seville. Spanish robots, FTW!
Now Cuisine - Senior Mechanical Engineer (Full-time, Texas)
Become a key contributor to the core team bringing out Now Cuisine’s first commercial robotic meal machine.
Conceptual and detail design, analysis, specification, interaction with vendors
Industry experience in mechanical engineering, preferably designing and developing sophisticated automated equipment involving motion control, actuators, sensors, and clever mechanisms
Background in concept and detail design of electromechanical systems and mechanisms
Fluency with SOLIDWORKS
Working familiarity with electrical systems and electronics
Bachelor of Science or graduate degree in mechanical engineering
3+ years of industrial experience developing automated machinery
Hands-on experience with prototyping techniques (3D printing, CNC machining, laser cutting, etc.) and machine shop practice
Passion for great food, robotics, and/or automation
For more information, including how to apply, please see https://www.nowcuisine.com/careers.
Have a food robot or automation job opening? Post it on OttOmate! Paid subscribers can list jobs for free! Just email me to set it up.
The ROBOjuice is Loose
ROBOjuice posted a video this week showing off its humanoid robot smoothie maker. The company didn’t provide many details along with or in the video other than it makes a smoothie in a minute.
The machine in the video seems fairly limited with just two frozen ingredients, one dry ingredient and one liquid, but the mockup on the company’s website features a larger setup with more choices.
We’re talking with ROBOjuice later this week, so we should have more information in next week’s newsletter.
A Tale of Two City Robots
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us,”
I realize that the opening to Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities is both a.) easily applied to just about any situation anywhere, and therefore b.) hacky for me to reference, but it does fit nicely with what’s happening with two different robot delivery startups in two different cities right now.
Over in Dublin, Ireland, it’s the best of times for Hosted Kitchens. The company known for its ghost kitchen operations recently launched its own robot delivery program at Dublin City University. Not only is Hosted operating its own robot delivery — it built its own robot from the ground up. For Hosted, which plans to expand to ten robots across four Irish campuses next year — it’s off to an optimistic start with endless possibilities.
But that might be because it hasn’t started working with city officials in Dublin yet…
Over in Toronto, it is quite literally the worst of times for Tiny Mile. The city council there will vote this week (the vote got pushed to Friday) on whether to outright ban “micro-utility devices” like Tiny Mile’s delivery robots from city sidewalks. The city council is framing it as an issue of robots vs. the disabled community, which is a real concern — but is a full-on immediate ban the answer? As Tiny Mile CEO Ignacio Tartavull explained to me “If the ban goes through, then the company shuts down.” If you run a robot startup or are a local city regulator interested in bringing robots to your town, there are some lessons to be learned from Tiny Mile’s Toronto travails.
That’s it for this week. Thanks for reading.
Stay cool. Have a great summer. Class of ‘90 rulez.