Concept: Chinese startup Pudu Robotics has unveiled PUDU A1, a compound delivery robot designed for restaurant applications. It leverages technologies, including positioning and grasping technology, food recognition, laser SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping), and visual SLAM. The mechanical arm is included in the restaurant scenario by the robot, spanning the gap between the kitchen and the dining table.

Nature of Disruption: PUDU A1 leverages deep learning to detect various types of food. Its mechanical arm can find the plates in real-time and grip appropriately to assure transfer to the assigned table through communication with the restaurant’s management system. PUDU A1 can achieve a stopping accuracy of ±7mm and offset the change of the robot’s center of gravity (COG) by employing real-time computation based on the adaptive module for the dynamic COG to provide high stability. The robot determines the space where the dishes are to be placed and appropriately sets the dishes on the table with optimal obstacle avoidance path planning using complex identification perception technologies of the table environment. In complex and dynamic restaurant situations, its multi-sensor categorization safety control system can ensure customer harmony and avert collisions.

Outlook: The foodservice industry is employing industrial robots to reduce time and space while also improving sanitation and safety. This can help save a lot of money on labor, improve workplace productivity, and give customers a better experience. PUDU A1 aims to disrupt the sector with its technology-based delivery systems, allowing for more complete, comprehensive, and optimized services. In September 2021, Pudu Robotics raised $77M in a C2-series financing led by Sequoia Capital China, Greater Bay Area Homeland Development Fund, Meituan, and Shenzhen Investment Holdings. It plans to use the wealth accumulated for R&D, new site launches, and global network expansion.

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