A robotic waitress delivers a pizza at a restaurant in Pakistan.Image: ss mizra/afp/Getty ImagesBy Monica Chin2018-03-14 20:28:24 UTC
Robots can already complete a wide variety of tasks for their human overlords, but they may soon be about to conquer the final frontier: making pizzas.
As first reported by ZDNet, Little Caesars has received a new patent for an “automated pizza assembly system,” or what is essentially a robot that makes pizza.
The patent describes it as “a robot including a stationary base and an articulating arm having a gripper attached to the end is operable to grip a pizza pan having pizza dough therein.”
Little Caesars’ patented robot from the side.Image: screenshot: monica chin/Little caesars/The robot will then rotate the pizza pan through “the cheese spreading station” and the “pepperoni applying station.” The patent claims that the robot and its stations will “properly distribute the cheese and pepperoni on the pizza.”
This patent isn’t all that surprising, when you consider how quickly the entire fast-food industry has moved toward automation. Establishments like McDonalds and Wal-Mart already have robots heavily involved in their most basic procedures. Even the smaller burger chain CaliBurger has a burger-flipping robot of its own, though it’s currently on unpaid leave. It’s worth noting that CaliBurger’s robot worker also requires humans to prepare buns and place patties on its grill.
This new Little Caesars’ patent doesn’t necessarily mean a pizza-making robot is coming to your neighborhood anytime soon, or even that it will come at all. Still, it’s an exciting sign for anyone who hates to cook, but loves to eat pizza. Its widespread use could mean a more efficient kitchen, and free up time for employees to focus on customer service — plus maybe it will lower the cost of making an already dirt-cheap $5 hot-and-ready pizza.