The CEO of Singapore’s Crown Digital has announced plans to mass-manufacture its ELLA robot barista concept, with the brand targeting high footfall commuter hubs in Asia
If successful, ELLA’s mass manufacture will represent a significant milestone for robot barista concepts | Photo credit: Crown Digital
ELLA, dubbed Singapore’s first fully autonomous robotic barista, will be mass-manufactured this year to meet growing demand for the concept.
Crown Digital, the technology arm of the Crown Group, launched ELLA in October 2020 with a first commercial standalone model next to an outlet of the company’s other business venture, smart IoT café Crown Coffee.
Since then, Ella has been serving coffee to commuters at Tokyo and Yokohama Stations and has also been launched in corporate offices where hybrid work and contactless requirements have remained since the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a post on social media, Keith Tan, CEO of Crown Digital, said that mass manufacturing will enter engineering and designing phase within six months.
Tan said the development would enable ELLA to scale up its presence in train stations, hospitals, airports and offices, as well as target new regional markets.
Crown Digital also launched a Bytes Station on Singapore’s train station network in March 2022. The station offers coffee and on-the-go food to time pressed commuters.
In April 2022, Crown Digital raised S$5m ($3.6m) in investment funding, which the company stated would enable it to accelerate deployment across Asia and develop new capabilities and concepts. Crown Digital’s Series A investment round will close in June, the funds from which will be used to enhance ELLA’s design and technology and scale up manufacturing to meet demand.
If successful, ELLA’s mass manufacture will represent a significant milestone for robot barista concepts, which have yet to be successfully scaled.
US-based Cafe X operates two robotic coffee bars in San Francisco Airport, as well as a bar at Dubai’s Museum of the Future. Other products in the market include the Rozum Café concept, owned by Russian R&D firm Rozum Robotics and reportedly live in eight locations across the Middle East, and the Costa Coffee ‘BaristaBot’ brand, launched in 2020 following the acquisition of US digital coffee kiosk company Briggo.