Robots have come a long way in the past century from science fiction stories to active members of the modern workforce doing stationary real-world assembly line tasks for the automotive industry. Their presence has also been helpful for increased safety level in the workplace since robots could be assigned dangerous high-speed tasks. Today, they are crossing over into new occupations, and sightings of robots in the travel industry are becoming more common.
One of the key characteristics of robots is they are machines programmed to execute specific tasks, often with precision and speed. The different forms of robots include virtual assistant software, machine learning software, algorithmic software, and autonomous to semi-autonomous vehicles. The field of artificial intelligence generally overlaps deeply with advancements in robotics and automation.
AI is helping usher in a new era of robots in the travel industry since it’s now possible to automate booking and communicate with chatbots that can be better at answering questions than humans. Voice-activated software is now making online booking even easier. Talking with and getting recommendations from computers is now part of the mainstream.
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Robots as Hosts and Monitors
Monitoring an operation such as a hotel can now be conducted with IoT sensors as well as Hollywood-style robots. The growing adoption of smart technology allows a hotel to gather extensive data about guests and accommodations in various ways. Analyzing this information can lead to streamlining the operation to become more cost-efficient and eco-friendly.
The idea of human-like robots was popularized in novels and movies to the point it spilled over into science. Now it’s possible for toy dolls to come to life in the digital age. In 2015, Marriott introduced its robot Mario to welcome guests, then the following year Hilton’s robot Connie also debuted as a concierge. While Mario was designed by Belgian company QBMT, Connie is a product of IBM. Both robots resemble toy dolls for children.
AI technology has made the Henn-na Hotel in Nagasaki, Japan, the first lodging facility on earth staffed entirely by robots. These humanoid robots can be used for meetings and conventions to make welcome and farewell speeches, which is a memorable experience for business travelers. Tourist attractions can further benefit from the use of human-like robots that are able to answer tourist questions.
Nearly every type of business can benefit from machine learning software that resolves problems. This type of robot exists more in the digital realm as it reviews vast amounts of data from multiple sources in seconds to generate a conversation about the information. The combination of voice recognition and machine learning technology allows a guest to ask for complex directions based on current weather and traffic conditions. The robot can then provide routing recommendations based on scoring multiple factors.
Assistance at Your Service
But a robot doesn’t have to take the form of software, a machine, or a humanoid. It can be a suitcase, which is practical for travelers. Yes, travelers can now bring with them a rolling robotic suitcase called Travelmate. The smart suitcase contains a GPS chip so you know its exact location at all times and can be controlled wirelessly through a Bluetooth connection. The battery can also be charged with wireless technology.
Robots can further provide assistance in many other ways for travelers, such as with machines that move luggage at airports. Don’t be surprised if you see an uptick in security robots that assist security officers at airports. Knightscope is a company that manufactures human-size autonomous security robots that assist security personnel in providing real-time intelligence.
You’ll likely see more and more robots in the travel industry as time goes on. You may be greeted by a doll-like robot at a hotel desk or you may have informative conversations with chatbots through digital portals. Robots are diversifying and expanding in the travel industry to make travel more convenient, efficient, and in some ways, even entertaining.