Like oil and water or brushing your teeth and then drinking fruit juice, alcohol and cutting-edge robotics just don’t sound a good mix. But the folks behind Yanu, a new “fully autonomous robot bartender powered by A.I.” hope to help change that perception.
Built by Estonian tech startup Robolab, Yanu doesn’t exactly look like your stereotypical bartender. In place of a waistcoat and reassuringly weather-worn features, it takes the form of a snake-like flexible robot arm that’s capable of gripping glasses, pouring bottles, taking payments and doing … well, whatever else a bartender needs to do to turn your drinks order into a soothing, refreshing beverage in your hand.
“For me, this was prompted by the crazy idea of, ‘could I create the perfect Mr. Jeeves who will serve me a drink?’” Alan Adojaan, CEO of Robolab, told Digital Trends. “It’s a boy’s dream of building a superior machine that will serve and play along. It’s a bit crazy, but why not try? The setup is easy: a robot hand mixes drinks and serves them. That’s what differs it from a vending machine. There is a show going on, and real-life action. You gotta see it!”
As to why he felt the need to replace human bartenders, Adojaan said it’s all about efficiency. “I ran nightclubs for 15 years, and this work is constant problem-solving,” Adojaan continued. “There is a never-ending bottleneck between a bar and customer: You want to put out more drinks and customers want to buy more, but you never have enough bartenders available. It’s a nightmare and you have to be constantly optimizing. I dream of a perfect bar, where the bar works faster than customers can order.“
While Adojaan acknowledges that certain parts of the human bartender experience can’t be replicated, he said that Yanu promises to “help out in places with huge numbers of customers incoming, where humans work as robots, and there is not enough workforce. There will always be nice bars, with friendly bartenders, who take time to talk to people. We are aiming at the crammed nightclubs, where the bartender is a robot by default.”
We’ll have to wait until we see it to know for sure, but Adojaan certainly sounds confident about his $150,000 machine. A prototype of Yanu is set to be debuted in the next couple of months before it’s made publicly available to purchase in the next six months or so. It’s far from the only robot bartender we’ve covered before, though, so it will be fascinating to see how this space plays out in the years to come.
At the very least, testing them all sounds like it’s got the makings of a very fun “research” pub crawl!