AI Smoothies

Jamba is installing Jamba Blendid smoothie machines in Love’s service stations, bringing artificial intelligence to smoothie production.

Right now you can get your Caribbean Passion or Watermelon Breeze completely contactless AI smoothie only at a Walmart in California and a couple of colleges in Georgia, but Jamba plans to put kiosks in Love’s service station rest stops across the country.

Customers can order with an app and wait for a text to tell them when the robot has finished preparing their juicy treat. You can also order at the kiosk, though it seems to take about three times longer than a human being would.

The Blendid machine can make 9 smoothies at a time, which is probably a good thing, since it seems to be fairly slow at making one. However, it kept the reviewer in the video below waiting while it spent 15 minutes making one smoothie, rather than making both at once. Possibly it has to make all of one order together, or its AI isn’t up to adding another order in while it has one in process.

This reviewer says he doesn’t think human workers need to worry about losing their jobs to these slow-poke smoothie blenders, and we wonder whether this really requires AI, but it could have multiple iterative improvements as it gets rolled out across the country.

“There’s no doubt that we’re first to market with this,” a company spokesperson says. “So we’re learning, and we’re not afraid to experience mistakes along the way. That’s only making us stronger. Just like any typical software, every iteration gets stronger every time they do a new release.”

Contactless food

The pandemic whetted people’s appetites for contactless food, and Jamba hopes its kiosks will extend the hours they can stay open. Food service jobs are hard to fill right now, and people working in those jobs have been agitating for higher wages and better working conditions for some time.

The result is an industry ripe for automation. While an early TikTok video shows the machine having some serious motion control issues, the company is confident that its system will work well in the long run, and customers are becoming increasingly accepting of robotic service in fast food settings.

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