A hotel run by humanoid robots is no more a far fetched dream, especially from a country that is famous for robotics and technological innovation, Japan.
The Henn-na Hotel located in Nagasaki plans to recruit 10 humanoid robot also named as actroid androids. These lifelike bots would greet the guests with a smile and would assist the guests by carrying their baggage, prepare coffee and even clean their rooms.
Actroid, woman robot of Japanese descent
Kokoro is the robotics company that is developing theses actroid robots since 2003 that looks and behaves similar to a young Japanese woman. Just like humans, the bots are designed to blink, breathe, make eye contact, comprehend and accordingly respond to different tone and body language. They are programmed to be multilingual and can converse fluently in Japanese, English, Korean and Chinese thus catering to guests from different countries.
Starting with 72 rooms, Henn-na Hotel will become part of Huis Ten Bosch a theme park in Nagasaki and will be operational from the month of July. Guests making a reservation with the hotel since July 17 can expect to see three uniformed actroids at the reception desk, another four will take up the job as porter bots. The Hotel also staffs an industrial robot as a clock room attendant, while the remaining robots will take up the task of cleaning.
Initially, human staff will be available to keep a check so that everything runs smoothly, however, going forward Hideo Sawada, company president plans robots to take up 90 percent of the chores of the hotel.
Facial recognition technology
Apart from the actroid, the hotel features some other technology such as facial recognition software that would allow guests a keyless entry to their rooms and a radiation panel installed in the rooms will detect body heat to regulate room temperature. Each room will be provided with a tablet from which guests can place order for room service or call for any other required amenities. The hotel plans to cut down operating cost further by installing solar panel and energy efficient LED lights.
The price for a single room will range from £40 (¥7,000) per night, while a twin room will cost about £50 (¥9,000). Going forward, if the project gains popularity, then the rooms will be available for online bidding which may make the stay in the hotel even more expensive, but still economical than rooms at other hotels with price starting at £166 (¥30,000).
Robots running a hotel
If the concept of robots managing hotel is liked and approved by the guests, the owner might go ahead setting another in the theme park in 2016 and many more worldwide. The company envisions making world’s most efficient hotel using actroid robots.
Let see how does robots fairs in the service/hospitality industry where personal attention is more valued. If these concepts of humanlike robots get acceptance in the society, I fear, humans in large numbers might also have to shed their jobs.