Next time you order room service, it might be delivered by an unexpected employee: a robot.
As of August 20th, “A.L.O. the Botlr” officially joined the staff at the Aloft hotel in Cupertino, Calif. The creation of robotics startup Savioke, A.L.O. is capable of doing a lot of the tasks you might associate with your average bellhop.
The hotel plans on using A.L.O. primarily as a way to deliver items to guests rooms without tying up the human staff in the process. For instance, if you call down to the front desk and ask for extra towels, the concierge can put a few inside the Botlr, program in your room number and send him on his way. When he gets to your door, the robot will give you a call. Open up, and a small display on his front will guide you through the process of quickly retrieving what you requested.
A.L.O. the Botlr will also be able to help man the front desk and check in guests during particularly busy times. When it comes to tips, the robot only accepts tweets.
Here's a look at A.L.O. in action:
“As soon as A.L.O. entered the room, we knew it was what we were looking for,” says Brian McGuinness, Global Brand Leader, Starwood’s Specialty Select Brands. “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.”
Before you freak out about robots taking over, A.L.O. isn’t meant to replace human staff, but instead free them up to focus on more personal interactions with guests at other times.
While it’s performing some tasks for humans, you won’t mistake A.L.O. for one. The Botlr doesn’t identify itself as male or female, and looks more like R-2 than C3-PO. Its outfit is just a custom shrink-wrap and name tag.
A.L.O. is the first of many Botlrs expected to be hired in the coming months at Aloft. If the trial is successful, we could see the digital butlers start to show up at other Aloft hotels and even new chains soon.