Starwood, one of the world’s largest hotel companies, is rolling out two robotic “Botlrs” inexplicably named A.L.O. in their Cupertino Aloft Hotel.
The robotic butlers, built by Savioke, are able to perform tasks in the front of the house and the back of the house, as well as navigate around guests and use elevators. For the most part, it seems that the Botlrs will be delivering amenities to guest rooms in lieu of actual humans, “freeing up existing talent’s time and allowing them to create a more personalized experience for guests.”
When a guest calls down and asks for a toothbrush or extra towels, hotel employees simply load up the robot with the requested items, dial in the room number, and the Botlr handles the rest.
Using a combination of sensors and WiFi/4G connectivity to communicate with the hotel and the elevator software, the ROS-powered robot can get to and from the rooms without breaking anything or injuring anyone.
When the robot arrives at the room, the guest can enter in a rating on the robot’s touchscreen, or offer a “tip” in the form of a tweet to the hashtag #MeetBotlr.
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“This is currently a pilot at Aloft Cupertino and is under consideration, though not yet confirmed, to be implemented at Aloft Sunnyvale when it opens at the end of this year,” said Brian McGuinness of Aloft Hotels. “Based on the success of the pilot, we will look to roll out at our nearly 100 hotels around the world in 2015 and beyond.”
Hotels are making bigger strides to appeal to their increasingly tech-forward guests, especially given the added competitive pressure of services like Airbnb.
Hilton recently introduced a way to choose your room and check out from your phone, with smartphone-powered keyless entry coming in the next year.
The Aloft Botlrs are currently “training”, and will officially go live in the hotels starting on August 20.
If you want to check out the A.L.O. Botlr in action, check out the video below: