World’s first robot-staffed hotel to open

Hotel RobotsRobots don’t need wages, so the cost of a room is low.

A fleet of robots will be providing the personal touch at a new hotel scheduled to open in southern Japan this July. But guests can expect a “strange” hospitality experience.

Hen-na Hotel literally means “strange hotel”. It is nearing completion at the Huis Ten Bosch theme park outside Nagasaki and will be the world’s first property staffed by humanoid androids.

Three uniformed robots or “actroids” will run the reception desk at the 72-room hotel, while four porter robots will be on hand to take guests’ luggage to their rooms. Actroids will also staff the cloakroom, clean the hotel and serve meals in the restaurant.

The androids, which bear the features and mannerisms of young women, will be able to speak Japanese, Chinese, Korean and English, make hand gestures and determine customers’ moods based on their facial expressions.

The actroids were developed by Osaka University and built by Kokoro, with the first version dating back to 2003. The hotel will also incorporate other state-of-the-art technology, such as facial recognition systems to enter the guest rooms.

The aim is both to highlight technological advances and to keep costs down, says the hotel operator. Because robots do not need wages, the cost of a night at the Hen-na is just 7,000 yen (€53) per night, far lower than the 20,000 yen starting price at the theme park’s other hotels.

TTG Asia

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