A robotic butler (dubbed a Botlr) has started work at the Aloft hotel in Cupertino, California.
The robot is approximately 3 feet tall, weighs less than 100 lbs., has a carrying capacity of 2 cubic feet, and is designed to travel at a human walking pace. It can even travel independently between floors via the hotel elevator. When Aloft’s A.L.O. arrives at the appropriate guest room, it phones the guest to announce its arrival, delivers the goods and makes its way back to the front desk. A.L.O. will know when a guest opens the door via an onboard camera. Once the door opens, A.L.O. will unlock, open its lid and provide instructions through onscreen prompts for guests to remove the item and close the lid.
We expect A.L.O. to delight guests, and also believe that some travelers will make a point of visiting the Cupertino Aloft for the sole purpose of getting a chance to meet A.L.O. in person. We believe the staff has more important things to do than deliver a toothbrush or a package of chips to a room, and that they would prefer to spend their time creating a more personalized experience for guests.
Let’s hope it has more success than humanoid robot Asimo, who didn’t have the best of starts working as a tour guide in a Tokyo museum.