In a day and age where just about everything is controlled by technology – opening hotel room doors, ordering pizza – why shouldn’t menial tasks be assigned to robots? Oh, robot uprising? Okay, you might have a point, but that’s not stopping one boutique hotel from taking its love for all things tech-savvy to another level by testing a robotic bellhop.
Later this month the Cupertino, CA, Aloft hotel will begin using Botlr, a more svelte version R2-D2, to perform simple tasks such as shuttling small items from the hotel lobby to guest rooms, The New York Times reports.
Aloft and neighboring Silicon Valley start-up, Savioke, teamed up to test the robot as a way to create more efficiency at the hotel while embracing it’s already tech-forward atmosphere.
Brian McGuinness, senior vice president for Aloft’s parent company Starwood Hotels, tells the Times that Botlr is simply an enhancement to the Aloft experience and won’t be a replacement for humans.
In fact, officials with Savioke say the hi-tech butler could actually increase human interaction at the hotels. By using Botlr to make deliveries, hotel staff is able to spend more time with guests.
Botlr, which is equipped with a camera and sensors, will mainly be used to complete deliveries of small objects such as razors, toothbrushes, smartphone chargers and other items to the hotel’s 150 guests in about two to three minutes, the Times reports.
After being dispatched to a guest’s room the robot, which is programed to stay out of the way of other guests, makes its way to the elevator where it transmits a wireless command to open the door.
Upon arriving at the specified guest room the robot calls the room phone to alert them of the delivery. When the robot’s sensors detect the door opening, it lifts the lid to the storage bin revealing the requested item.
In lieu of tips, guests use the flat panel display located on top of the robot to review the service. If everything was to a guest’s satisfaction Botlr will perform a short dance before scurrying off to his next delivery.
The Cupertino Aloft location has long been used as a testing ground for new technology – thanks in part to its close proximity to a plethora of tech companies
Earlier this year, the location began implementing technology to allow guests to skip check-in and open their hotel rooms with a virtual key on their smartphone.
‘Beep,’ Says the Bellhop [The New York Times]