Don't be shocked if a robot serves you the next time you eat out or go on vacation. LG is bringing its CLOi ServeBot to the US, giving hotels, restaurants and stores a semi-autonomous machine that can ferry up to 66lbs of food and other cargo across a busy space. While humans have to pre-program maps and set destinations, the bot can use a 3D camera, LiDAR and sensors to dodge people and detect when someone has removed an item from a tray.
Like other CLOi robots, the ServeBot uses its 9.2-inch touchsreen to both put on a friendly face for guests and take input. It's not fast at 2.2MPH, but its 11 hours of continuous use should be enough for a long workday.
This isn't the first LG robot to cross to the US. The Korean tech firm brought its disinfecting UV-C robot to the US in 2021. The timing might be apt, however. American companies are grappling with the combination of job shortages (particularly in service roles) and an evolving pandemic that adds risk to waiting tables or helming a hotel's front desk. ServeBot won't completely replace human workers, but it might lessen the sting of job shortfalls and reduce exposure for workers who frequently have to deal with the public.