• Lucky Japan will be the testing ground for the new robots. (ZMP)
No driver required for this (relatively) fast food.
Lucy Rennick

16 Aug 2017 - 2:48 PM  UPDATED 16 Aug 2017 - 3:13 PM

In the latest edition of ‘the future is here’  Japan is unveiling shiny new robots to deliver sushi to hungry Tokyo-ites. Tokyo robotics company ZMP has teamed up with food-delivery service Ride On Express to create driverless CarriRo delivery vehicles, which are set to start test operations this month.

At about a meter in height, the bright red CarriRo are equipped with laser sensors and cameras that allow them to safely navigate pedestrian traffic on bustling Tokyo streets (although remote control is also possible). They can each carry enough food to sate 60 people, and – best of all – they’re really, really cute.

CarriRo is the latest announcement in what seems like a string of meetings between robotics and the food delivery industry. In 2016, fast food chain Domino’s experimented with using robots to deliver pizzas around Brisbane at the speed of about 20 km per hour, while food-delivery robots were also given a test run on the streets of London last year. Just this year, Starship Technologies unveiled DoorDash, a robotic delivery startup in Silicone Valley.

Should bike-riding pizza delivery people and Uber Eats drivers be worried about their jobs? While it might seem a logical progression in terms of efficiency, in Australia at least, the switch to robot-manned delivery vehicles is probably a little while off. Quite aside from the practical concerns (anti-collision technology would have to be near-bulletproof, and what happens when the robot hits a staircase?), we suspect local and state governments are likely to have more than a few questions to ask before delivery robots become a familiar sight in our streets. 

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Hand-rolled sushi (temaki zushi)

When Japanese families make sushi at home, the most popular style is the temaki, or hand roll. A large platter of fresh ingredients, a big tub of sushi rice and some sheets of nori are all that’s needed for a tasty and fun sushi meal. The crunch of the nori in this kind of freshly rolled sushi recipe is a delicious change from the more common rolls, in which the nori has softened through longer contact with the moist rice.