California hotel to unveil a robot butler

Aloft Hotels to introduce 'Botlr', a new and unique robot for hotel services.
By James Carlin | Aug 14, 2015
The first-of-its-kind robot butler is scheduled to be introduced by Aloft Hotel on August 20 in Cupertino, California. Named A.L.O., it is designed to assist the hotel's room service staff by doing chores in a timely manner. Furthermore, the R2-D2-like robot will also help the hotel's guests with everyday tasks. The Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. Group hopes that all 100+ Aloft Hotels would soon have one or two Botlrs running in the corridors, serving and delighting guests.

The Botlr, designed by start-up Savioke, stands three-feet tall and will be dressed in a complete butler's uniform along with a name tag. The Silicon Valley company states that the robot-butler can travel at 4mph and carry a load of up to 10 pounds. A.L.O. can easily navigate hotel corridors with the help of its sensors and can even use elevators by communicating through 4G and WiFi. The "Wall-E" type robot has a 7-inch touch screen interface so guests and hotel staff can easily communicate with it and offer reviews of its performance.

Botlr is an armless robot, but it will still assist the hotel's staff by completing room service chores like delivering things to the rooms. The robot butler is armed with sensors that not only help it to navigate the hotel's corridors, but can also detect when a guest opens the door so that it can deliver what has been ordered. When it reaches its destination, it will "knock" by ringing the room's phone, alerting hotel guests of its arrival.

These technological butlers are not aimed at replacing the existing human workforce, but are there to help them focus on the more important tasks. According to Brian McGuinness of Starwood's Specialty Select Brands, "As soon as A.L.O. entered the room, we knew it was what we were looking for. A.L.O. has the work ethic of Wall-E, the humor of Rosie from The Jetsons and reminds me of my favorite childhood robot, R2-D2."

Savioke released a statement saying, "They say that every journey begins with a single step. Next week marks a major milestone in our mission to create autonomous robots for the services industry. Except, in this case, our robot's journey begins with a single robot wheel rotation."


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