• Kyodo

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SoftBank Group Corp.’s robot making unit on Monday unveiled its new food service robot in a move designed to reduce the risk of coronavirus infections between staff and customers at restaurants and other eateries.

SoftBank Robotics Group Corp. said it will start renting out its Servi robot, which can automatically deliver meals and drinks from the kitchen to tables at eateries, in January.

The three-year rental plan costs ¥99,800 ($950) per month. The company said it expects orders from not only restaurants but also hospitals, retailers and hotels.

The 1-meter-high column-shaped robot, co-developed with California-based Bear Robotics Inc., can carry a load of up to 35 kilograms at a time. It figures out where it needs to go using artificial intelligence.

The robot can deliver and collect dishes by someone entering a table number and pushing the “go” button on the device. Equipped with three cameras and a sensor, it can dodge obstacles, such as chairs and tables.

“Hall staff can spare more time for communicating with customers by introducing our robot,” Dai Sakata, the company’s chief business officer, said in an online press conference.

“This robot could also be a solution for labor shortages possibly happening in the post-coronavirus era” in the graying country, Sakata added.

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