Alibaba A.I. Labs Launches Hospitality Robot

The robotics industry is revolutionizing the world, and Alibaba A.I. Labs, the AI product development arm, is raising the stakes in this cutting-edge industry with the announcement of launching service robots for the hospitality sector starting in October. Spoken at a four day tech summit at the Alibaba HQ, it would serve as an ultimate assistant for the convenience of hotel guests.

The Labs’ service robot – from delivering meals to taking laundry to guests – demonstrates what guests can expect at hotels in the future. Guests talk to the robot via voice command, touch and hand gesture, and its responses are driven by AliGenie, the software that powers Alibaba A.I. Labs’ smart speaker, Tmall Genie.

“We are excited by this tremendous development that is helping us bridge the gap between guest needs and the response time that they expect. Alibaba A.I. Labs’ robot is the next step in the evolution towards smart hotels. In addition, it is solving pain points in the hotel sector, such as enhancing service efficiency, with our leading AI technologies,” says Lijuan Chen, General Manager of Alibaba A.I. Labs.

The Labs’ service robot is state-of-the-art, combining aluminium casing with multi-sensor data functionality and parallel computing for lightning quick responses. With a height less than one meter and speed of one meter per second, it also includes a semantic map, autonomous navigation system to identify obstacles, communication systems to control elevators, and identity verification via facial-recognition technology.

More trials will be done to assess its suitability for other areas, including hospitals, restaurants and office services.

According to the International Federation of Robotics, the global market for service robots are on the rise. The market is expected to grow from 20% to 25% from 2018 to 2020, while the sales forecast 2018-2020 indicates a cumulative volume of around 27 billion U.S. dollars for the professional service segment.

Following the unveiling of the robot, Tmall Genie, China’s most popular smart speaker, also sees an advancement in its ecosystem with the announcement of Tmall Genie Auto.

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