Tim Hortons’ local franchisee creates a robot that takes your orders in transit

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WATERLOO – Soon you may be talking to a robot at a local grocery store or fast food restaurant doing drive-through and not even knowing it.

AiDA, or the automated intelligent digital assistant, is conversational AI to be used in live and busy industrial environments.

Anik Seth, co-founder of a local artificial intelligence research group called HueX, started working on the technology two years ago. As a family business of Tim Horton’s franchise business, Seth said he was inspired to create the technology to improve the experience of customers and employees.

“A combination of speech recognition technology and natural language processing technology enables it to communicate with guests regardless of dialect, accent or order,” said Seth.

AiDA “understands an order, takes your order and then automatically enters it into the register in order to accelerate service speed and transit.”

HueX, located at the University of Waterloo, is a member of the school’s GEDI Exchange research zone. Seth is an alumnus of the university.

The group wants to expand the range of technology, with potential in other grocery stores and even banks.

In a grocery store, you can use your voice to interact with a panel that shows where to find an item like canned beans, Seth said. In banking, AiDA could help with everyday interactions.

“So we see endless possibilities,” he said.

The technology is being tested with Canadian fast food restaurants and some American chains, but Seth said names cannot be released yet due to nondisclosure agreements.

Artificial intelligence technology has reached a number of industries.

The Record reported in late May on a technology developed by researchers at the University of Waterloo that could help treat COVID-19 patients.

The AI ​​assesses the severity of the virus in patients by analyzing chest x-rays. When implemented, this technology could help clinicians better understand the extent of a patient’s condition and the treatments needed.


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