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Starwood Hotels hire robot butlers

Starwood’s Aloft Hotel in Cupertino is doing a trial with two robots, which will bring amenities to guests and more. Starwood hopes to bring robots to more than 100 of their hotels in the near future.


Think of a futuristic sci-fi film, and you’ll likely be picturing flying cars, flashing lights and, of course, household robots. Quite a few sci-fi technologies of the past have been realized by now, and robots too, are starting to seep into our everyday lives. Starwood Hotels have decided to introduce robot butlers to their Aloft Hotel, which is appropriately located at the heart of silicon valley, in Cupertino, California.

The robots, which are called A.L.O. botlrs, are able to perform tasks at the front of the house, as well as in the back, and are primarily being employed to bring amenities to the guests, freeing up the human hotel staff and “allowing them to create a more personalized experience for guests.”

Backed by Google and developed by Savioke, the botlrs could, for example, be sent up to a guest’s room to bring them an extra tooth brush or towel. The hotel staff would simply load up the robot with the desired items and tell it which room to go to. The robot then navigates the hotel using a combination of onboard sensors and WiFi/4G connectivity, which allows it to communicate with the hotel.


Now all we need are hoverboards and virtual reality, and we’re set.

When the botler arrives at a room, the guest can submit a rating on the robot’s touch screen, and provide a tip by tweeting the robot with the hashtag #MeetBotlr

The A.L.O. Botlr is powered by Robot Operating System, or ROS. ROS is a linux-based operating system that provides a robot with any number of functions, including stereo vision, movement and facial recognition. Not all of ROS’s features are necessarily enabled in the botlr though.

“This is currently a pilot at Aloft Cupertino and is under consideration, though not yet confirmed, to be implemented at Aloft Sunnyvale when it opens at the end of this year,” said Aloft Hotel’s Brian McGuinness. “Based on the success of the pilot, we will look to roll out at our nearly 100 hotels around the world in 2015 and beyond.” The botlrs are currently in training at the hotel and will go into full service on August 20th.

Source: TechCrunch

David F.
A grad student in experimental physics, David is fascinated by science, space and technology. When not buried in lecture books, he enjoys movies, gaming and mountainbiking

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