This robot cat waiter delivers your food, accepts pets and scratches as gratuity

Robotics company PuduTech debuted a cat robot waiter at the 53rd Consumer Electronics Show in January 2020 called the BellaBot.

The BellaBot is a delivery robot with a cat face as its digital display. PuduTech even programmed the machine to behave like the animal with the intention to make interactions between robots and humans more friendly.

BellaBot has four tray levels to store food and beverages. When summoned by a customer, its advanced tactile feedback system kicks in. That means patrons are encouraged to pet, scratch and play with BellaBot, and then it responds with appropriate facial expressions of happiness or disdain.

If pet correctly the robot will say, “The owner’s hands are so warm.” But if it goes on too long, it will express anger. That’s because BellaBot doesn’t want you holding it up at work.

As far as functionality goes, BellaBot has customizable delivery functions and a navigation system to maneuver around obstacles like tables, chairs and humans. PUDU Slam, a multi-sensor fusion SLAM algorithm, along with 3D omnidirectional obstacle avoidance means Bellabot can assess complex scenarios to stop, start and move at any angle.

For restaurant owners opting for multiple BellaBots, each robot can speak directly to any robot in the same network for optimal decision making.

PuduTech is a China-based company that’s been developing and manufacturing self-driving delivery robots since 2016. BellaBot is the latest incarnation of robot waiters by the company which boasts 2,000 PuduBots already in use at restaurants.

However, unlike BellaBot the PuduBots don’t have a cat face display. PuduTech also offers an HolaBot that acts as a table busser by returning used dishware back to the restaurant kitchen.

If you liked this story, check out In The Know’s article on one Grammy-winning artist’s mission to open the tech world to people of color.

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