KFC Made a Robot Colonel Sanders for the Drive Thru
What’s better than drive-thru fried chicken from a fast-food chain? Actually, don’t answer that.
We should note here that Sanders himself—the very real founder of the KFC franchise who passed away in 1980 at age 90—is not being brought back to life; rather, the brand is simply naming a robotic “chicken expert” after him. The robot’s full title is H.A.R.L.A.N.D., which, besides being an acronym that spells the Colonel’s first name, stands for Human Assisted Robotic Linguistic Animatronic Networked Device.
According to a press release from the brand, the robot is a “state-of-the-art voice modulator system that gives drive-thru customers the experience they've always dreamed of: ordering from an animatronic Colonel Sanders head that speaks in the voice of Colonel Sanders.” However, we're not too sure how real this concept is, given that Funny or Die is responsible for putting together this epic promotional video:
H.A.R.L.A.N.D. uses speech recognition along with text-to-speech technology that allows any KFC drive-thru operator's voice to be transformed into the “unmistakable drawl” of Colonel Sanders.
"What better way to celebrate National Fried Chicken Day than by ordering KFC from the Colonel himself?" commented George Felix, director of advertising for KFC United States. "We suspect drive-thru designers are heralding the H.A.R.L.A.N.D. technology as the greatest industry advancement since the addition of two-way communication itself. Not only do we have a real person as our historic brand icon, but now we have the ability to bring that real person back as a real robot. The future is now.”
Well, as long as we still get to eat fried chicken in the end, we guess we’re into it.