What is Nvidia doing in the restaurant industry?

AI For Business

The world's first fully autonomous, AI-powered restaurant is just the tip of the iceberg for Nvidia's presence in the food industry, where it aims to make AI as commonplace as burgers and fries.

While Jensen Huang founded NVIDIA in a Denny's breakfast booth more than 20 years ago, the world's first fully autonomous restaurant, powered by NVIDIA's latest AI chips, has just opened in Pasadena, California. In a recent post, we talked about NVIDIA's Project GR00T and how robots are now able to mimic human behavior purely through observation, not programming with code. In this post, we look at how these robots are set to revolutionize the restaurant industry, starting with Flippy's Caliexpress restaurant. A joint venture between Miso Robotics and PopID, the restaurant is the first fully autonomous restaurant with PopID-powered self-ordering kiosks and a robot called Flippy (the robot fry station) that makes fries and flips burgers with robotic precision.

Cloudy, possible dosa

Caliexpress by Flippy is perhaps the world’s first AI-powered fully autonomous restaurant, but this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of Nvidia’s presence in the food industry. Starting with a range of solutions for quick-service restaurants (QSRs) like voice-enabled food kiosks, restaurant analytics, and even order predictions, Nvidia aims to make AI as synonymous with the food industry as burgers and fries. In a previous post, we discussed how Asian Paints is using AI to accurately forecast inventory requirements for hundreds of stores. Similarly, Nvidia offers NVIDIA-certified systems and NVIDIA RAPIDS to help restaurants and QSRs improve forecasting accuracy by up to 20%. Being able to predict what customers will order is an invaluable ability.

Domino's makes and delivers about 3 billion pizzas a year, but if you think they do it without AI, think again. The world's largest pizza company is using Nvidia's DGX systems, powered by about eight V100 Tensor Core GPUs, to accurately predict when orders will arrive. It all started with a campaign that asked customers to take a photo of their order and send it back to Domino's, but the data captured during the campaign and a host of proprietary AI models are now what Domino's calls its secret sauce. What's more, Domino's claims that the DGX system has allowed them to train new models 72 times faster than before, resulting in 20% improved accuracy in predicting when an order will be ready.

World's first fully autonomous restaurant opens in California – CaliExpress by Flippy

Nvidia's AI weapon for restaurants

Other Nvidia systems that are gaining popularity in the restaurant industry include Nvidia Violet, an AI-powered customer service assistant, the Nvidia RIVA software development kit, and the Nvidia JETSON platform. Toronto-based startup HuEx is using the Jetson AI Edge platform for an AI-powered conversational assistant for drive-thru restaurants. The assistant, named Aida, collects voice orders and prints them out as text for staff to read, and can also respond to customers by voice. To quote HuEx founder and CEO Anik Seth, “It can understand over 300,000 product combinations. 'Coffee with milk, coffee with sugar' is common, but some people order coffee with butter. It can handle that too.” HuEX is part of Nvidia Inception, a program that supports startups.

Similarly, San Diego-based startup Vistry is using Nvidia RIVA to develop an AI-powered “automated order taking solution.” It also uses Nvidia Metropolis to predict when an order will be ready to expedite delivery at drive-thrus. Vistry’s tools also run on the Nvidia Jetson AI Edge platform. In addition to the “order taking” side of the business, Nvidia is also getting into the order delivery business, powering robots that physically deliver food. Nvidia Jetson-powered Serve Robotics has partnered with Uber Eats to launch a fleet of sidewalk-roving robots with Level 4 autonomy to deliver food around Los Angeles. Equipped with active LIDAR, cameras and ultrasonic sensors, the food is stored in a secure cargo area that can be unlocked with a payment app or passcode.

Ketchup, mustard, data

As with what’s happening in almost every industry today, data is becoming the primary ingredient in our food. This is evident from the fact that every major company, from McDonald’s to KFC, Domino’s Pizza, and even Starbucks, is investing in AI to streamline their supply chains and increase efficiency. Nvidia understands this and has launched an entire ecosystem of tools and platforms for this purpose. We didn’t cover it all in this article, but you can find it here. The idea of ​​walking into a restaurant, talking to a screen, scanning your phone, and eating what a machine cooks for you, without any human interaction, may sound like science fiction, but the technology is already there. Robots also add a level of consistency to food that is difficult for the average human to mimic.

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