At Nicely Done Sites we love a good pizza. You might say that we love pizza just a bit too much but hey, everyone needs to have a guilty pleasure and we are not alone as Americans eat 100 acres worth of pizza every single day. Pizza can be found everywhere it seems, it every town and city in the US and in every supermarket and there are so many different styles and toppings to choose from. You probably drove by at least 5 different pizza places on your way to work today but AI may be about to change that.

Robot-made Pizza

On display at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was a pizza making robot, or more accurately several different AI-controlled robots that worked together to make pizza. The system has been developed by Washington State-based Picnic and has teamed up with Stamford, Connecticut-based Centerplate to serve pizza to visitors to the show. Centerplate has been struggling to hold onto major stadium contracts in recent years and needed something to reassert itself. This might be it.

Several different modules are attached together to form an assembly line of sorts. It can cope with different kinds of dough, different ingredients and different sauce types. In fact it can work fine with whatever a restaurant has in stock. At the CES Show it used frozen dough packs from Centerplate but it can work with hand-tossed dough as well. Each module performs one task, be it examining the size of the dough, laying the sauce (in perfect proportion), adding cheese (any cheese can be used except liquid cheese) and any other toppings on a conveyor belt and then moving the pie into the oven to cook.

The Future Of The Kitchen

The whole unit itself is small enough to fit into a truck and it is possible for it to be enlarged for larger kitchens. It is anticipated that the technology can be adapted to other foods as well in the future like sandwiches, salads and bowls. Customers would be able to place an order in an app and pick it up without any potential human involvement.

This system is also not just for visitors at the Consumer Electronics Show. Picnic already has two customers, Redmond, Washington based Zaucer Pizza and T-Mobile Park, the home of the Seattle Mariners of Major League Baseball at 12 select games at the end of the 2019 season. It can make upwards of 300 12” pizzas per hour. 

Just How Good Is It?

But, how good was it. As CNet’s Katie Collins stated: “As for the Picnic pizza, while I could see the ingredients were perfectly arranged, I did not have high hopes when I saw that frozen base. I was pleasantly surprised then when I saw how much it puffed up both around the rim and full of bubbles when cut through. It held up well while I chomped through it on the run to my next meeting and I even ate the whole yeasty crust, which isn’t always a given. The cheese was stretchy, the sauce thick and well balanced — I honestly have zero complaints.

Changing Pizza As We Know It?

So, move over hamburger flipping robots, here comes a pizza making robot. Of course the good news is that a human is still required to potentially toss the dough, slice the pizza, to keep the machine full of ingredients and several other pizza-related tasks. A human will also be required to keep it clean, so humans will not be frozen out of the pizza-making industry just yet. 

Of course change will not come easily. People have their favorite pizza places, their favorite styles, their favorite toppings and much more. For many people they may not want any robot touching their favorite pie. Pizza-making is a labor of love for many and it will not be given up easily just yet but this might just be the future of the food-service industry. Maybe with AI-powered delivery we may never need to interact with another human being again to order our pizza. That might not be a good thing there.

Other AI-Involved Pizza Efforts

Picnic is not the only entry in the world of AI pizza making. Little Caesars created a device called The Spoon for pizza assembly, which is basically the same thing as Picnic’s creation just with a robotic arm instead. Ford is trailing a self-driving car in Miami, Florida to deliver pizzas and Domino’s has unveiled a drone that will be used for pizza delivery as well as robots to take orders. NASA is also planning on using technology from Columbus, Ohio-based BeeHex to put its chef robot into space for astronauts at the International Space Station to 3-D print food, particularly pizza

With Picnic covering delivery, installation and maintenance on a subscription basis perhaps this could be something for the Nicely Done Sites World HQ. So, maybe if our companion company Freelance York could get enough subscribers one of these could make its way here. Now that would be a heck of a perk!

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