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Hotel to Try Robotic Bellhop
August 12, 2014

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Its name looks a bit odd but sounds right if you sound it out. It's Botlr, a robotic butler being trialled at a California hotel in late August.

The Aloft hotel, in Cupertino, will employ Botlr, manufactured by Silicon Valley startup Savioke, to automate the delivery of small items from the hotel lobby straight to guest rooms, even incorporating a ride up an elevator.

To operate Botlr, a desk clerk can open the top, place one or more small items inside, close the top, and then tap in a room number on the top-of-bot display. Botlr will then wheel itself off to the specified guest room. If the room is not on the ground floor, Botlr will roll itself to the elevator, send a signal containing the intended room number to the elevator, then wheel itself in and then out of the elevator. Built-in sensors will help Botlr avoid collisions with human or animal occupants of the elevator.

When Botlr, which can move at the pace of a human's brisk walk, reaches its destination, it will send a signal to a receiver inside the guest room, letting the guest know that the items have been delivered. Botlr's sensors can identify when the room door is opened and so when to flip open the robot's top. The guest can, on the spot, give a customer service of Botlr. Positive feedback will result in the robot's moving about in a sort of dance before returning to the lobby, in search of a charging station.

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