Robots Take the Hotel Service Industry to Task

Hospitality is the next frontier for robots. The online selling platform Alibaba has one of several hotels that are deploying service robots to support guests. The company’s artificial intelligence (AI) lab programmed these machines to deliver drinks and food in hotels. Androids and robots that were once only seen in the movies are now a reality.

Alibaba’s robots will communicate with guests using artificial intelligence. Each has facial recognition capabilities so that the robots can recall features. The machine is also engineered with a navigation system so it can recognize obstacles in its path. The lightning-fast responses are due to parallel computing and multi-sensor data programming.

Alibaba isn’t the only company to put AI to work in hospitality. Osaka University in Japan has partnered with Kokoro, a robotics firm, to develop “Actroid” machines to staff the Henn-na Hotel. These robots resemble Japanese women. The robots will work at the reception desk, clean rooms, wait on guests and hang coats. The technology keeps costs low. Rooms are around $60.

Henn-na Hotel is taking technology up a notch by allowing guests to access their rooms with facial recognition software, instead of keys. The smart hotel provides convenience with robotic service. Ten human staff are available for guests who prefer the personal touch.