Imagine checking into a hotel only to discover you've left your tooth brush, phone charger and other items at home. You call the front desk to order your much needed supplies. Moments later, there is a knock on the door. It's a robot, informing you that your order is outside. After retriving your items, the robot's touchscreen asks you to rate his service, while letting you know of the lunch specials this afternoon in the hotel restaurant and the local weather. Next, the robot scoots back inside the elevator. No tip required.
Science fiction? No, robots are now a hospitality fact. Guests of the Aloft Hotel in Cupertino, California will soon be having this experience with Botlr, a robot made by the start-up company Savioke. Botlr is roughly 3 feet tall, weighs about 100 pounds and moves at a human’s walking pace. Botir can also take elevators on its own to move from floor to floor. Botlr has about 2 cubic feet’s worth of carrying capacity within itself.
Botlr was funded in part by Google ventures and uses sonar technology, lasers and cameras to know when people open doors and to maneuver around obstacles in its way. If Botlr is successful next week in the Aloft hotel, hundreds of hotels worldwide may introduce them in 2015.