Meet the droid who serves piping hot pizzas in Multan

Published: March 4, 2017
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Customers wait anxiously to be served by the robot waiter at Pizza.com. PHOTO: INP

Customers wait anxiously to be served by the robot waiter at Pizza.com. PHOTO: INP

MULTAN: Bringing Pakistan at par with the world in terms of technology, a restaurant in Multan now provides service to customers through a robot. A pizza outlet in Multan has introduced a robot waiter to serve customers. The robot has been designed and developed in Pakistan.

Such robots have earlier been introduced in the US and China, the latter of which started replacing human staff as early as 2006.

The face behind technology

The robot is the brainchild of Syed Usama Aziz, an electrical engineer who graduated from the National University of Science and Technology. Usama has a keen interest in the field of robotics while his father owns the food outlet ‘Pizza.com’.

Source of motivation

Usama got enrolled in electrical engineering department in NUST in 2011 and graduated in 2015. He wanted to study further and explore the field of robotics by going abroad but his father encouraged him to stay in Pakistan and prove his mettle.

Upon failing to convince his parents on going abroad for further studies, he decided to follow his passion right in Pakistan.

In order to support his father’s business, an idea struck him that whole serving process should be automated to increase efficiency by many folds.

But when he realised that the cost of importing an automatic serving machine from other countries would be an expensive deal, he decided to develop a robot in Pakistan.

Meet the star

After eight months of hard work and investment of around Rs400,000, Pakistan’s first robotic waiter was finally ready to be tested.

Usama is currently testing the robot in one of the branches of Pizza.com in Multan.

The robot is able to navigate to the customer’s table, greet the customers, serve the meal and come back to the counter. It can also detect obstacles in the path and avoid them to continue on its way. It runs on a rechargeable battery for 12-13 hours in one go and has a lifespan of about 5-10 years.

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But considering that all the mechanical and electrical components used in the robot are completely made in Pakistan, it is inspiring how much Usama has accomplished in such a short time with the limited resources available to him. Though it is an amazing effort but the robot waiter is not that sensitive to change and very low on artificial intelligence.

Future plans

Although the robot is currently in its beta testing phase, Usama has plans to deploy similar robots in outlets in other cities, including Hyderabad. He also plans to further enhance its functionality by enabling it to take orders in the future.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 4th, 2017.

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