Botlr, the Robot Hotel Bellhop

Robots have become a permanent fixture in manufacturing. They’re perfect for performing repetitive tasks quickly and accurately, and they don’t need water breaks. Robotic engineers are looking to put robots into jobs outside factories as well. You’ve maybe heard the buzz about robotic nursing home attendants and the like, but now there’s a company looking to introduce robotic bellhops in hotels. The Silicon Valley based company Savioke is set to release said robot next week. That robot will be known as Botlr.

Unfortunately Botlr won’t be a big metal humanoid in a little bellhop uniform with a hat. Botlr won’t whistle and dance while carrying your luggage and it won’t say snarky things while scoffing at an inadequate tip. The robotic butler will look more like a trash can than anything else. It will only be able to hold smaller items like toiletries or newspapers, but it will be able to go from the front desk, ride the elevator and find the correct room number.

Savioke is a robotics company funded by Google Ventures. Their goal is to make robots that are not only affordable enough, but also responsive enough to be put to use in the service industry. The company recognized that most robots, apart from simple robots like Roomba, are industrial robots designed for and used in manufacturing and assembly.

In what might be a gross oversimplification, Botlr is a big, intelligent, cargo-capable Roomba. The robot is a top-loading bin with a tablet-like touch screen attached to it. Essentially a hotel worker will load up Botlr, give it the room number and send it on its way. It’s equipped with motion sensing technology and can scan up to 40 feet ahead of itself. To sweeten the pot, Savioke also equipped Botlr with Wi Fi.

Botlr might seem a bit limited, but it’s an extremely exciting advancement in robotics. A new practical application for robots can always lead to the next big thing!