De­liv­ered by Drone

Air & Space Smithsonian - - Front Page -

THEY BEAT AMA­ZON

Tim­bré, a Sin­ga­pore-based restau­rant chain, hopes to ex­pand its work­force to in­clude drone waiters by the end of this year. The chain, in part­ner­ship with In­finium Ro­bot­ics, con­ducted tri­als in Fe­bru­ary.

Drones (unimag­i­na­tively named “In­finium- Serve”) will trans­port food and drink from the kitchen to the din­ing room, where hu­man waiters will de­liver them to pa­trons. The drones are equipped with sonar sen­sors and stereo-vi­sion cam­eras, says Jun­yang Woon, chief ex­ec­u­tive of In­finium Ro­bot­ics. (Woon de­clined to give specifics about the po­si­tion­ing tech­nolo­gies needed to en­able the drones to work with­out slam­ming into peo­ple, ex­plain­ing that the com­pany was in the mid­dle of fil­ing patents.) Eight drones, at a cost of $20,000 to $60,000 each, will be used in each of Tim­bré’s five restau­rants. The tech­nol­ogy took more than five years to de­velop, says Woon, and is used with a multi-ro­tor plat­form also de­signed by In­finium.

Sound like a gim­mick? Both In­finium and Tim­bré have men­tioned that the

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