Not that dancing, serving beer, and playing golf aren't impressive feats, but perhaps a robot that automatically delivers goods within a hotel is a better use of that technology. Meet Relay, a robot that brings you stuff—towels, snacks, coffee, whatever will fit inside its little compartment—all on its own.
According to Steve Cousins, CEO of Savioke (the developers of Relay), “For decades, robots have been too complex, too expensive, and not safe enough to co-exist in human environments. Through a combination of advances in robotics software, and the drop in costs for robotic hardware and components, those objections have disappeared."
The process starts off familiar enough, with a call to housekeeping. An actual human places your requested items in Relay, punches in your room number and then Relay navigates to you (even up the elevator) using all sorts of fancy cameras, Wi-Fi, and other tech.
Relay's already made thousands of successful runs at a handful of hotel locations here in the U.S. But we can't help thinking two things:
1) How far are we from a hotel filled with service robots?
2) Would it be too much to ask for R2 or BB-8 to bring us that forgotten toothpaste, perhaps with some sort of 3-D holographic message, voice interaction, the whole nine?
We know, we're being greedy. But as long as we control the robots, why not?