Cupertino's Aloft Hotel, located pretty much across the street from the Apple campus, has a new non-living, non-thinking employee, reports the New York Times. It's a robot butler called "Botlr."
The disembodied hospitality machine goes to work on August 20, when it will begin shuttling room service items to guests' doors. After a human loads it up with the appropriate things, Botlr takes the elevator to the appropriate floor, waits outside the destination room, and places a phone call to let the guest know it has arrived.
Upon opening the door, the guest are greeted by the robot's touchscreen display. Botlr's sensors can tell when the door has been opened, at which point it opens its storage compartment for the recipient to retrieve his or her items. Once it's confirmed that the guests received everything requested, they rate their interaction on a five-star scale and go about the rest of their day.
The Aloft hotel chain uses its Cupertino location as a testing ground to experiment with how technology might improve customer experience. Previously this has included systems for getting music and video content from your personal gadgets onto a hotel room's television screen, or being able to unlock your hotel room with your smartphone. Robotics startup Savioke took notice of the company's forward-thinking tendencies and pitched them on the robot butler idea.
Check out the video up top to see how Botlr will work and interact with hotel guests.
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