Science

In Mosul, customers served by robots

(Mosul) Burgers on its tray, a robot moves under the amused gaze of customers. In Mosul, a restaurant and its automated waiters are propelling customers into the future with technology built in part in this war-torn city in Iraq.

AL-JAMAS Town Hall
French Media Agency

“Welcome to table number three”, “I hope you have a good time in our restaurant”, “Do not forget to give us your opinion on the idea of ​​the restaurant and the level of service,” he says. the mechanical – and feminine – voice of the glowing white and blue robot, the red light from its softly blinking eyes.

Elegantly knotted scarf around his neck, black beret on his head, he sets off again through the crowded room, slowly sliding over a railing on the floor ensuring his movement.

“On television we saw robots and digital touch tables, in the United Arab Emirates, in Spain or in Japan. I tried to gather these ideas here in Mosul, ”says Rami Chkib Abdelrahmane, owner of the establishment that opened in June with pride.

“We saw the concept on social media, in more than one restaurant,” continues the thirty-year-old.

Mosul, a large metropolis in northern Iraq, controlled by jihadists from the Islamic State (IS) group from 2014 to 2017, still bears the scars of war.

Travel in space

To dine at White Fox, locals can travel through space. And every night the restaurant has a full house.

The wall decoration sets the tone: a floating astronaut, a view of Earth or other planets, as if seen from the windows of a spaceship. On the ceiling, blue constellations.

The main attraction remains the two plastic-shelled androids traveling to transport the food.

When the robot approaches, seated consumers pull out their smartphones. Before leaving, the children stand silently next to them while the parents take a souvenir photo of them.

The robots were imported from abroad, explains Abdelrahmane. Discreet, this dentist prefers not to discuss the cost or financing of his project.

Everything here is technological, including the 15 digital tables, whose touch-sensitive surface allows you to consult the menu and place an order. They are also equipped with wireless chargers for phones.

It was a team from the University of Mosul, the Faculty of Mechatronics – a discipline that combines mechanics, electronics, computing and new technologies – that carried out the programming, electronic networking and a waiter, he said.

“Favorite restaurant”

Some White Fox customers make the trip from neighboring regions, Salaheddine or Erbil, says Abdelrahmane, who hopes to open soon for breakfast and lunch.

But machines have not completely replaced man.

Four young waiters are busy in the dining room placing dishes from the robot’s tray on the table.

Having come to dinner with his wife, Bashar Mahmoud is convinced. You take a selfie with the robot in the background. With an amused smile on his face, he does not take his eyes off the moving automaton.

“I have traveled abroad, I have never seen anything like it, not in Turkey, not in Jordan, not in Saudi Arabia,” exclaims the 50-year-old blacksmith with a salt and pepper beard.

“Whether it’s cleanliness, speed, prices, this service in Mosul makes me very happy. I really hope it becomes widespread in all restaurants, ”he adds, all smiles. “This place will be my favorite restaurant in Mosul. ”

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