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Shanghai's first AI community canteen unveiled

By Xing Yi | | Updated: 2021-08-02 14:57
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The first community canteen powered by artificial intelligence in Shanghai held its soft opening on July 19.

Located in the city's Hongqiao sub-district, the canteen features robotic arms that perform the bulk of food preparation tasks.

The meat dishes here costs 8 yuan ($1.24) while vegetable dishes cost only 3.5 yuan.

"The dishes here are abundant in choice and they taste nice," said Guan Shuang, a resident from the Hongqiao community. "The transparent glass allows me to view the whole cooking procedure. It's quite sanitary."

The canteen accepts a variety of payment options, including bank card, QR codes and the digital yuan, also known as e-CNY or Digital Currency Electronic Payment.

There are six sections in the canteen: a self-service area, an unmanned wheaten food area, a self-checkout area, an online order pick-up zone, a data center and a smart snack machine.

At the self-service area, diners simply need to place their dishes on a smart cashier desk and the system will automatically determine the cost of the meal.

The smart snack machine, which is available round the clock, offers dishes such as tomato beef brisket noodles, pork noodles with pickled vegetables, and tom yam seafood noodles.

Liu Yunxi, founder of Shanghai Xixiang Catering Management Cooperation, the company that built the canteen, said that such facilities can "better energize the food industry", while the Hongqiao sub-district management office said that the AI canteen can add more convenience to residents' lives.

Fan Xuehan contributed to this story.

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