Put that cash tip away, the future is already upon us. Aloft Hotels, a swanky hotel in Silicon Valley is about to debut the world's first robotic bellboy, a speedy automaton built to fulfil your every wish, or at least bring you a midnight snack.
Named the Botlr, this fleet-wheeled robot will serve a variety of front and back end tasks for the hotel. It can guide guests to their rooms as well as deliver toiletries like toothbrushes and razors in a fraction of the time it would take a human to do so. It zooms about at speeds up to four miles per hour and wirelessly communicates with the hotel's elevator system (carefully minding the feet of any meatsacks already in the lift) to reach any floor and any of the 150 rooms in just 2-3 minutes.
When it arrives at a room, it will automatically ring the suite phone in lieu of knocking. And when it's not running errands, it returns to its charging station in the lobby for a quick energy boost.
What's more, the Botlr is adorable. It wears a close-fitting vinyl uniform complete with collars and a name tag bearing the robot's initials A.L.O.
Brian McGuinness of Starwood hotels put it this way:
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 humour of Rosie from The Jetsons and reminds me of my favourite childhood robot, R2-D2. We are excited to have it join our team.
And the best part? You don't even need to tip it for performing these tasks — aside from mentioning how awesome it is in a tweet.
"I see this as an enhancement to our customer service," McGuinness told the NYT. "It's not going to be a replacement for our human talent." In fact, the hotel now employs the Botlr specifically to free up its human talent for less inane duties.
"We are thrilled to introduce our robot to the world today through our relationship with Aloft Hotels," according to Steve Cousins, CEO of Savioke, the company that has designed and built the Botlr. "In our early testing, all of us at Savioke have seen the look of delight on those guests who receive a room delivery from a robot. We've also seen the front desk get busy at times, and expect Botlr will be especially helpful at those times, freeing up human talent to interact with guests on a personal level."
The Botlr will begin its tenure at Aloft Cupertino, right across the street from the Apple Campus, on August 20th.