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Danger, Will Robinson

I remember as a kid, watching Lost In Space, and seeing the robot zip all over the spaceship, bringing food, drinks and information to Will Robinson. Never in a million years, did I expect to live in a world where this actually happens.

Of course, I have heard of robots helping in hotels with reception, and even delivering goods, but most of this was taking place in the Far East, where technology is king. You can imagine how shocked I was to see this happening in Durham Region, in our own backyard.

Staffing, especially in eateries, is at an all-time low, and several locales have been cutting back hours, because of it. This of course, created an opportunity for Pudu Robotics, a Chinese technology firm, to take advantage of current logistics.

Meet BellaBot, a new, cat-like server robot which provides contact-less delivery to several restaurants in Durham Region. According to staff, the establishments have experienced a sharp increase in its number of visits, since BellaBot was adopted in January.

The indoor delivery robot features a cute cat face, and adaptable interaction which integrates visual, mobile and auditory senses. According to the company, the BellaBot can move, orient and navigate autonomously in crowded environments, and deliver food to three to four tables at a time.

When it arrives at a table, a light beside the tray flashes, reminding customers to take the food. When the tray is removed the light goes out, and Bella moves on to the next table.

In addition to the basic delivery mode, BellaBot also comes with a cruise mode. This is designed to roam around and deliver snacks or buffet food. This is also handy as Bella can walk around the entrance to a restaurant, to help attract customers. All this for only $10,000 a unit.

BellaBot also offers a birthday mode, where it delivers birthday cakes accompanied by music. I hope I never sit in a restaurant, and suddenly hear the ominous words, “Danger, Will Robinson!”

Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, award winning photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. Watch his show, ‘Jonathan van Bilsen’s photosNtravel’, on RogersTV, the Standard Website or YouTube.

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