Artificial intelligence is coming to our guac. A new robotic prototype, Autocado, unveiled at Chipotle’s test kitchen at UCI Research Park, cuts prep time by 50%, allowing workers to better serve customers, company officials say.
Autocado slices avocados in half, then removes their skins and cores – tasks previously done by kitchen workers. Chipotle projects using about 4.5 million cases of avocados this year, equivalent to more than 100 million pounds.
This is the second collaborative robot, or “cobot,” to emerge from Chipotle’s test kitchen in the past two years. Last year, Chipotle introduced Chippy the robot, which uses artificial intelligence to make tortilla chips – right down to a fine dusting of salt and hint of fresh lime juice.
These two cobots are part of Chipotle’s $50 million “Cultivate Next” project to innovate using artificial intelligence, robotics and other technologies.
“We are committed to exploring collaborative robotics to drive efficiencies and ease pain points for our employees,” says Curt Garner, Chipotle’s chief customer and technology officer.
People will still play a key role while working with Autocado – by adding additional ingredients and hand-mashing avocados into a final product – guacamole.