Uditech has so far signed deals with several Chinese karaoke bars and deployed over a hundred service robots in real-world scenarios.
Uditech is currently working on its outdoor robots for meal delivery.
Service robots, by 2018, will contribute over 60% to the overall sales revenue of robots, according to a forecast by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR). In the industrial arena, the human jobs are increasingly replaced by industrial robots along with rising labor cost. In the professional and domestic area, service robots are gradually taking on jobs in such areas as restaurants and logistics, said LIU Dazhi, co-founder of Uditech.
Founded in March 2013, Uditech (优地科技) is dedicated primarily to developing and supplying service robots. In its early days, Uditech specialized mainly in offering embedded solutions for clients like NVIDIA. In May 2016, it rolled out its first service robot, dubbed “EXCELLANDER”, which is designed specifically for places like karaoke bars, restaurants, hotels, and hospitals.
Enabled by self-driving technology and outfitted with laser radar for navigation, “EXCELLANDER” can autonomously work out the best path, navigate obstacles and complete the tasks like guiding customers, delivery and taking lifts. “EXCELLANDER” was first put into use in karaoke bars, where it took on such repetitive tasks as guiding customers and delivering drinks, all of which were traditionally shouldered by human staff.
Undoubtedly, the labor cost of the karaoke bars is pared down by introducing services robot. According to the team, Uditech has so far signed deals with several large karaoke bars and deployed over a hundred “EXCELLANDERs” in real-world scenarios.
In an effort to widen its robot’s application, Uditech later developed its delivery robot for restaurant and hotel industry. The delivery robot is, in effect, based on its first generation robot and is fitted with a larger cabinet and heavier load.
The average price of its robot is now way lower than the annual salary of a waiter or waitress in first-tier cities, according to the team.
Now that the robot technology is ripe, the cost for making a robot will surely come down as the cost of radar continues to drop, said LIU. It’s expected that Uditech’s service robots will be adopted on a larger scale in the ensuing two years.
Aside from that, Uditech is currently working on its fleet of outdoor robots, which, once come to fruition, will be used to deliver takeouts for restaurants in a 3km range. The outdoor robot, which is now in testing, is expected to come to fruition by the end of 2018. The robot, which is like a moving self-service delivery locker, will first be piloted in the small arenas like campus before it is rolled out into the real world for testing. According to Liu, outdoor robots represent a much larger market, which is set to be four times or five times as large as that of the indoor robots.
Uditech’s service robots can currently be found in karaoke bars in nearly 40 first-tier and second-tier cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. By the way, its service robot can also be rented. According to the team, Uditech registered about 20 million yuan (approx. USD 3.15 million) in sales revenue in 2017 and is now on track to make a profit in 2018.
The company had previously raised tens of millions yuan in a Pre-A round from investors including IFLYTEK. According to Liu, the Shenzhen-based company now has 50+ employees, all of whom are former employees with the Terminal Division of UTStarcom (China) Co., Ltd.