Ramen Waiter Robots Coming To Japan

Illustration for article titled Ramen Waiter Robots Coming To Japan
Photo: Kourakuen
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Later this month, ramen chain Kourakuen in Fukushima will begin trialing robot waiters to bring patrons hot, steaming bowls of ramen.

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Called K-1, the robot is supposed to help with social distancing in the age of covid-19, offering contactless service and reducing the burden on restaurant staff.

K-1 is outfitted with voice guidance as well as a sensor to avoid bumping into objects and people while bringing ramen to hungry customers.

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According to Kourakuen, the goal is to save labor, which during a pandemic might offer more safety. However, surely I’m not the only one to worry that in the future increased automation like this will mean fewer jobs?

Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored six books, including most recently, The Japanese Sake Bible.

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DISCUSSION

I wonder what the technicalities would be if someone spilled their bowl of ramen while trying to pick it up from the robot. Is the person or the restaurant at fault? I feel like, in America at least, having a living person handle hot plates/bowls is one of the reasons why human servers will remain important (as compared to robots).