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Towards Foodservice Robotics: a taxonomy of actions of foodservice workers and a critical review of supportive technology

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posted on 2021-07-19, 01:20 authored by Débora PereiraDébora Pereira, Arianna Bozzato, Paolo Dario, Gastone Ciuti
This paper was motivated by a critical need in foodservice: the ability to produce consistent and high-quality meals ad-hoc, without overloading the workers or harming their health. Robotic and autonomous systems are promising technologies to solve this. However, there is not a unified framework in robotics research focused on the professional foodservice environment. This paper provides two tools for researchers and engineers in this field: (i) a taxonomy of basic actions that foodservice workers perform during their physical tasks; and (ii) a systematic review of mechatronic systems being developed or already in use in foodservice. The taxonomy can be immediately useful to divide research and development by the classes of actions. In addition, we found specific categories of actions that have been rarely automated so far and need further investigation. The results of our review can be readily applied in industry, too: presently, most equipment is a custom-built machine with limited adaptiveness; when systems include industrial robots, cobots are being preferred; the implementation of collaborative operations between humans and robots is not common yet and its applicability may be suitable only for certain contexts; finally, we identify scientific publications introducing adaptive control strategies and movement policies for some actions that can be implemented today to achieve a more robust actuation.


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Submitting Author's Institution

The BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna

Submitting Author's Country

  • Italy