The future is now, folks! Hotel butlers are here!
Well, almost here, anyway.
Alibaba A.I. Labs has just announced it will introduce a hospitality robot – the latest in a number of hotel-specific robots delivering food and other simple stuff to guests, freeing up hotel staff to do more complicated tasks.
Basically, sometime soon, you could be staying at a hotel and have a robot deliver room service for you!
Come October (which is barely three days away, BTW), the Alibaba robot will be deployed for laundy and food deliveries – but the location(s) of the robot are unknown so far.
According to Adweek, the robot is just under one metre tall, and moves at speeds of up to one metre per second. It also has an inbuilt map and navigation system (so it doesn’t run into things) a communications system to contol the elevators and facial recognition technology for ID’ing guests.
And guess what? You can even interact with the robot, by using hand gestures and touch. Responses are then triggered – powered by Alibaba’s personal assistant, AliGenie.
After a trial, A.I. Labs will re-evaluate whether the robot is suitable for hospitals, restaurants and offices.
“We are excited by this tremendous development that is helping us bridge the gap between guest needs and the response time that they expect. Alibaba A.I. Labs’ robot is the next step in the evolution towards smart hotels,” Chen Lijuan, general manager of Alibaba A.I. Labs, said in a statement.
Personally, we can’t wait to stay in a hotel and order room service from a robot. Once they release the location of the trial, that is.