It would not generate a second glance if it were stationary in a hotel lobby. But on the move, it can reach speeds of up to four miles per hour. That’s about the pace of a brisk walk, and adequate for Botlr to hustle razors, toothbrushes, smartphone chargers, snacks and even the morning paper to any of the hotel’s 150 rooms in two to three minutes.
When the robot reaches the guest’s door, the system calls the room, alerting the guest to the delivery.
The robot, which has a camera and other sensors, can recognize that the room door has been opened and then lift the lid on the storage bin that holds the delivery. A flat panel display at the top of the robot is used for the guest to enter a “review” rather than giving a tip. In return for a positive review, the robot will do a small dance before it departs.
We think this is an awesome service, especially for a limited to no-service brand like Aloft Hotels as well as brands that target business travelers who don't want to be bothered by nosy staff. But of course, this wouldn't work at high-end luxury brand like Peninsula Hotels or Waldorf-Astoria where guests expect staff to wait on them at all times. Unless...the hotels give every guest a Botlr upon checking-in. Now, that would be genius.
[Photo: Peter DaSilva/NY Times]