Receptionists, bellhops and concierges may soon be able to add themselves to the list of professions threatened by automation. That is because a new hotel set to open this July will feature a staff that includes 10 robots. The android assistants will do everything from greeting guests to carrying their luggage.
The Henn-na Hotel will be located, naturally, in Japan. The two-story, 72-room hotel will be part of the Huis Ten Bosch theme park, which is designed to look like the Netherlands. "Henn-na" can mean both "strange" and "change" in Japanese.
Variety of Advanced Technologies
In addition to the robot staff, the hotel will be equipped with other advanced technologies, such as the use of facial recognition scanners in lieu of room keys. Temperatures within guests' rooms will be measured via a sensor that monitors body temperature rather than thermostat, and rooms will be equipped with tablets with which to communicate with the front desk.
The robots, meanwhile, will provide a variety of services, according to the company, including room cleaning, front desk and porter services, meaning you could be checked in by robots and have robots carry your bags to your room.
The automaton workforce is being supplied by Kokoro Co. Ltd., according to a report in the Telegraph. The company, which is part of the same conglomerate that provides the license for Hello Kitty, is using technology developed at Osaka University. Kokoro has been developing its android models, which it calls "actroids," since they first debuted in 2003. The robots will have the ability to make eye contact, gesture with their hands, and will speak Japanese, English, Korean and Chinese.
'Most Efficient Hotel in the World'
According to the Japan Times, the hotel's operator is promoting the venue with the motto "A Commitment to Evolution." Huis Ten Bosch's president, Hideo Sawada, told a news conference that the company planned to use the futuristic technology to make Henn-na the most efficient hotel in the world. The company hopes that robots eventually will make up over 90 percent of the hotel's staff, according to the Japan Times.
While one might think a hotel staffed, even partially, by robots would cost a pretty penny, Huis Ten Bosch seems determined to keep costs affordable. In fact, the robots will help reduce operating expenses significantly, with savings set to go to the guests, according to the Telegraph. A single bedroom will cost 7,000 yen per night, or about $60. During the height of tourist season guests will be able to bid on rooms, but the company is capping the bidding at 14,0000 per night for a single, according to the Japan Times.
The Henn-na is planned to be built in two stages, with the first stage opening July 17. A second stage will consist of an additional 72 rooms and is due to be completed the following year.
Posted: 2015-03-14 @ 2:26pm PT
There are many hotels run by robots. I've been in the first hotel staffed by robot two years ago in that place www.levitthostel.com. Was awsome.