Robotic baristas will begin serving coffee drinks to commuters in 30 Singapore Mass Rapid Transit stations by the end of 2022.
Built by Crown Digital, a Singaporean startup with expertise in F&B technology, the robot, called Ella, has a retail footprint of less than 5 square meters, features a cashless and contactless interface and can serve up 200 cups of gourmet coffee per hour. MTA commuters will be able to order beverages ahead of time using an app and collect the drinks immediately upon arrival at a station.
Crown Digital is teaming up with Stellar Lifestyle, a digital media company with expertise in property and retail, to place Ella at the Singapore stations.
Ella incorporates internal security features, including AI-powered vision for round-the-clock live video analytics and monitoring, fully sealed chambers without gaps, and solenoid IoT locks for all access panels to prevent tampering. Ella’s computer vision system is used to spot anomalies like spillage and foreign objects. A backend administration and maintenance module will update a “central command center” in real-time should an incident take place.
“We plan to enhance commuters’ experience by enlivening and transforming Singapore’s public transport network spaces with innovative and new-to-network concepts,” said Stellar Lifestyle president Tony Heng. “Ella is an example of the kind of lifestyle concepts we are actively looking for at MRT stations across the island.”
The Singapore deal follows an agreement last December to test Ella in railway stations operated by JR East in Japan.
As of August 2021, Singapore's MRT network encompassed 134 miles of route on standard gauge, with 127 stations in operation (28 of which are interchange stations) spread across six lines arrayed in a circle-radial topology. Its daily ridership volume in 2019 was 3.4 million.