Many years back, the popular cartoon The Jetsons, about a family in the future dealing everyday challenges, had one critical character who captivated the attention of many: Rosie the robotic maid.
At the time, the idea of a robotic maid seemed like a future fantasy that would never actually come to life – until now.
Starwood is rolling out two robotic “Botlrs” in its Cupertino Aloft Hotel. According to TechCrunch, the new robotic butlers perform tasks in the front of the house and the back of the hotel, as well as navigate around guests and can even use elevators.
The Botlrs will deliver amenities to guest rooms as well, which will “free up existing staff time, allowing them to create a more personalized experience for guests.”
Here’s how the Botlrs will work. When a guest calls down and asks for a toothbrush or extra towels, hotel employees simply load up the robot with the requested items, dial in the room number, and the Botlr handles the rest.
The technologies behind the Botlrs are a combination of sensors and WiFi/4G connectivity that communicates with the hotel and the elevator software. From there, the ROS-powered robot can get to and from the rooms without breaking anything or injuring anyone.
The guest can enter in a rating on the robot’s touchscreen, or offer a “tip” in the form of a tweet to the hashtag #MeetBotlr, when the robot arrives at the room.
According to the TechCrunch article, the Aloft Botlrs are currently in “training,” and will officially go live on August 20th.
In addition to providing a huge PR coup for Starwood, the adoption of this bold new innovation will set the stage for other hoteliers to develop similar robotic services.
In the near future, as hotel guests, we will ultimately have our own robotic Rosies’ to help tend to our every need.