Robotics is the Next Wave of Automation Systems for Stadiums and Arenas

September 23, 2062, is still forty years away, but it’s an important historical date. One hundred years before, on September 23, 1962, the Jetsons premiered on ABC television. The Jetsons imagined a world one hundred years into the future, a time with flying cars and robot servants. How closely the future will resemble the ideas of the early 60s is still a wait and see, but some of the innovations that existed in the imaginations of Jetsons writers are taking place today.

Sports arenas and venues are not unfamiliar with using automation systems technology to reduce concession lines and get fans back in their seats faster. But are robotic servers the next evolutionary step? TechFoundry LLC Consultant Tod Caflisch says the staffing shortages and the need to cut costs seen in retail and other consumer-facing industries affect sports and entertainment, too, leading to the exploration of robotics and other automated systems to reduce the burden.

“There’s a platform called TendedBar that’s already been successfully used in a number of arenas and events,” Caflisch says. “Basically, it’s a contactless point of sale device for cocktails and mixed drinks.” An App utilizing facial recognition and biometrics verifies age and allows for order and payment. There is also an automated bartender robot called BRILLO, who can mix drinks and make small talk.

Another example of robot automation transforming the restaurant industry that could also make an impact in sports venues is Flippy. Flippy is a robot hamburger flipper and the world’s first autonomous robotic kitchen assistant. Developed by Miso Robotics, an AI and robotics startup focused on the restaurant industry, Flippy is a machine-learning robot that helps chefs with food prep, grilling, frying, and final assembly in commercial kitchens. Flippy 2 launched earlier this summer, and Sippy, the world’s first POS-integrated beverage dispenser and sealer, is poised to launch before the end of 2022.

But how close is the world coming to an actual house-optimized robot, like Rosie the Robot from the Jetsons? Closer than one might imagine. Elon Musk is nearing completion of a prototype for the first functioning humanoid robot, which could debut as early as the end of this coming September. No matter the form these innovations take, they are starting to pop up around stadiums. Caflisch says, “Check it out. The next time you go out to the arena or stadium for a game or a concert, and see, because I think you’re going to be catching more of that.”

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