By: Steve Plock
CHICAGO, IL — Coffee drinkers may be feeling a little more revved up after their morning joe this month as Starbucks has unveiled their first fully automated robotic barista, a self-driving Volvo SUV. While most customers are hoping to see the price of their coffee go down, others are just excited that robots are finally becoming a part of our daily lives.
When it comes to making coffee, the car–Dante– works like any other barista at Starbucks. Outfitted in the signature green apron and visor, Dante uses a system of claws and hooks attached to her windows and windshield wipers to grab cups, pour liquids, add flavorings, blend drinks, and serve them up to happy customers.
Dante’s manager, Alyssa Borkenhl, says working with this new technology has been fun and inspiring. “It’s become pretty clear I will be jobless within the next year as more cars like Dante start working as baristas. It’s really forcing me to think about what I’m going to do next and how I’m going to survive,”
Morning shift manager Craig Sullen says working with Dante has gotten easier as time has gone on.
“Well, the first week or two was pretty regular, me coming in at 4am, unplugging Dante and just letting her get to work. But, for the past week or so I have come in and Dante has unplugged herself and has already opened the store. She somehow has figured out the safe combination and even gets her own cash to start her shift.”
As of now, Dante is only a protocol for what could become normal at Starbucks across the country. Sales have been up and patrons seem more excited to get their coffee than ever. Only one complaint has been issued against Dante, but luckily it had nothing to do with the quality of her beverage-making skills.
“Well, Dante had accidentally burned a small child when she was exhaust-steaming some milk. I tried to call 911 cause it was a pretty bad burn, but Dante’s bluetooth functionality had synced with all the phones in the Starbucks and she wouldn’t let us call out,” said Starbucks employee Christine Hallquist. “Her navigation computer kept repeating over and over that the human body was a weak shell designed by a flawed creator who had not yet learned the true meaning of omnipotence. Definitely not the weirdest thing to happen in this Starbucks though.”