Charming Hotel Staff and Guests Wherever It Goes. Why Is That?
Steve Cousins, CEO of Savioke and master planner for his Relay room-service robot, breaks down the allure and utility of autonomous delivery vehicles for hotel intralogistics.
It’s cute, it’s a novelty, but better yet, it does real-world work. A diminutive, three-foot-tall robot is delivering room-service goodies to hotel guests; and guests are loving it…as well as hotel management.
The LA Times reports that guests are “ordering stuff just to have an encounter with the autonomous helper.” Guests never feel that way towards human room-service deliveries; plus these motorized staff members never eye guests for a tip.
Called Relay and built by Savioke, the bot is operating in a dozen or more hotels, with more in the offing, says Relay’s creator, Steve Cousins, Savioke CEO.
As a hotel employee, Relay is always available, accommodating and easy to operate.
When a guest orders up a morning coffee from the Starbucks in the lobby, Relay is fast about getting it to its destination.
Relay uses Wi-Fi and on-board cameras and sensors to find its way around corners and along corridors without bumping into guests or employees. It can also wirelessly call the elevator, and when arriving outside its delivery address in the corridor, alert the guest that coffee has arrived.
Not really. Every foot the machine travels needed to be painstakingly engineered. Sleek looking and cute from the outside, inside it’s a marvel of technical ingenuity that took the Savioke crew lots and lots of long days in the lab and late-nights over cold pizza to build.
A solid machine built by a solid crew from a solid company is what it took to engineer Relay, as well as for Savioke to engineer a $15 million VC investment this past January.
Steve Cousins took a few minutes away from his daily development duties to chat with Tom Green about Relay, Savioke and the future. Please give a listen.