SoftBank mulls major investment in robot pizza startup Zume

The Japan Times

SoftBank Group Corp. is in talks to invest from $500 million to $750 million in Zume Inc., a startup that makes and delivers fresh pizzas with the help of robots, according to people familiar with the conversations. Zume owns a patent for delivery trucks capable of cooking food while en route to customers. The startup's proprietary trucks are loaded in part by robots, and have ovens that fire up on demand via a remote cloud signal. The technology allows Zume to operate legally despite some laws preventing food truck companies from preparing food while a delivery vehicle is in motion. In addition to delivering pizza, Zume creates technology to manage perishable supply chain logistics and sees an opportunity to partner with companies that wish to provide freshly cooked menu items to customers.

4 Ways Drones are Being Used in Maritime and Offshore Services


Predictions about the billions of dollars that drone technology represents are as pervasive as they are extreme. Drone industry experts are currently tracking over 75 firms that offer drone market reports or forecasts of some type, all of which offer various opinions and numbers around what sort of an impact the technology will enable in industries like construction and agriculture as well as maritime and offshore services. It's easy and in some cases justified to get excited about the potential of the technology, but many of these predictions are based on how the drones might be utilized, as opposed to the difference they're actually making. It's why figuring out the ROI of UAVs is a key consideration when it comes to adoption, and it's why the current applications of drones in maritime and offshore services are so important to consider. The use cases of today are what will make some of those billion dollar predictions possible, and makes it essential to see these uses explored in depth and detail at industry events.

Pizza Hut has a new robot waiter in Korea, and we're booking a ticket to Seoul


Meet "Dilly Plate," a little robot who just got a job as a waiter at Pizza Hut in Seoul, Korea. It (he?) started a two-week test run on Monday, according to the Korea Times, the first time a robot waiter has been allowed to cut loose on the floor of the country's dining industry, the company said. Developed by Woowa Brothers, a South Korean startup that also operates the food-delivery app Baedal Minjok ("Delivery Nation"), the little pizza server looks a bit like a moving table and is designed to makes short-distance deliveries within the restaurant. Dilly Plate's pizza-delivery services are the first step in commercializing the food bot developed by Woowa and researchers at Korea University, practicing its indoor food-delivery skills before moving into the great outdoors and making long-distance deliveries. Woowa Brothers, which back in 2014 got $36 million in funding in a round lead by Goldman Sachs, hopes to develop low-cost robots that could open the delivery market to include picking up items at the grocery story, taking out recyclables, making pharmacy runs, and more, according to an interview with Korea Joong Ang Daily.

Some slice: Softbank in talks to invest up to $750 million in robot-centered pizza startup


Japanese multinational SoftBank Group Corp is in talks to throw three-quarters of a billion dollars at a Silicon Valley startup that's using industrial automation and predictive analytics to streamline pizza delivery, Bloomberg first reported. The startup is Zume Inc., which was founded in 2015 with a mission of rooting out inefficiencies in the $33 billion U.S. quick-serve pizza market. Zume has been delivering pizzas from its flagship location in Silicon Valley. It employs industrial robots fine tuned to perform like pizzaiolos. The robots prepare the dough, spread sauce and cheese, and man an 800 degree oven.

Chip labour: Robots replace waiters in China restaurant


The little robotic waiter wheels up to the table, raises its glass lid to reveal a steaming plate of local Shanghai-style crayfish and announces in low, mechanical tones, "Enjoy your meal." The futuristic restaurant concept is the latest initiative in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba's push to modernise service and retail in a country where robotics and artificial intelligence are increasingly being integrated into commerce. Raising efficiency and lowering labour costs are the objectives at Alibaba's "Robot.He" diners, where waiters have been replaced by robots about the size of microwave ovens, which roll around the dining room on table-high runways. And two shifts of people are needed," said Cao Haitao, the Alibaba product manager who developed the concept. "But we don't need two shifts for robots and they are on duty every day."

Iceland's answer to Amazon adds drone routes to urban deliveries


Drone deliveries have officially arrived ... just not anywhere close to where you're probably reading this. Iceland's largest native online marketplace,, has been offering drone delivery along one limited route in Reykjavik for the last year. Now the company is announcing 13 new routes for its autonomous on-demand urban drone delivery service. "Today's consumer desires almost instantaneous deliveries, almost as fast as they can click a button to order," said Maron Kristófersson, CEO of Aha. "Expanding our drone delivery service goes a long way towards meeting those sky-high expectations."

Boston Dynamics Is Getting Ready to Produce Lots of SpotMinis

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

At CEBIT back in June, Boston Dynamics' CEO Marc Raibert mentioned in a talk that they're currently building about 100 SpotMinis, and that they're planning on scaling that up to be able to build something like 1,000 SpotMinis by the end of 2019. This has attracted some attention recently, since it seems like Boston Dynamics is ready to "productify" its robots on a commercial scale, and Raibert even mentioned some areas in which they've had interest from potential customers. "We're trying to take what we already know, and reduce it to practice by making robot products," he said. "Robot products are new for Boston Dynamics … we've been operating for a long time working on the future, and now we're trying to make practical products." Making practical robotic products is a very difficult thing to do, as Boston Dynamics knows.

Driverless Grocery Delivery in Phoenix Could Start This Fall


"You will be the go-to-person on the ground as we launch our first satellite office/city," Nuro says in a help wanted posting on its website. As "city manager," you'd manage a fleet of vehicles that have no seats for humans yet will supposedly negotiate the roadways with human motorists without creating snarls and pileups. Nuro's also looking for a fleet technician and shift manager, who'll also be based in Phoenix. It seems that the job offerings are part of a driverless grocery delivery plan by Nuro and retail giant Kroger. Neither company will confirm that Phoenix will be the site of the pilot program.

IoT and the Supply Chain: What You Need to Know ODYN


The Internet of Things, or the IoT, is drastically transforming the way in which we as human beings interact. It's a system of computing devices across the globe that nowadays are linked to the internet, which makes it easy for them to share and collect data. The IoT will impact just about every industry across the globe. Supply chain management is one area, though, that hasn't gotten quite as much attention as self-driving vehicles and drones have. Managing supply chain goods has traditionally involved bar codes and tracking numbers.

Public Service Consulting and Insights Accenture


Digital disruption in the post and parcel industry will see robots and driverless vehicles delivering the mail, augmented reality creating efficiencies in delivery and Artificial Intelligence making it easier to connect customers to products and services, according to new research from Accenture.