World’s first robot hotel loses love for robots | Daily News

World’s first robot hotel loses love for robots

The world’s first robot hotel has ditched half its 243 android staff - as they do not work as well as humans. The Henn-na Hotel in Japan - translated as Strange Hotel - found that robots annoyed the guests and would often break down.

Guests complained their robot room assistants thought snoring were commands and would wake then up repeatedly during the night. Meanwhile the robot at the front desk could not answer basic questions. And human staff ended up working overtime to repair robots that stopped working.

One staff member said, “It’s easier now that we’re not being frequently called by guests to help with problems with the robots.”

Strange Hotel, in Sasebo, opened in 2015 amid a blaze of publicity and was recognised by the ‘Guinness Book of World Records’ as the first all robot hotel in the world.

It originally had 80 robots and number soon tripled. But according to the Wall Street Journal, problems began soon after.

Guests said that when they stayed at the hotel about half the robot dancers would not be working. Others became frustrated with the in-room assistant, called Churi, because of its tulip-shaped head, which could do nothing more than basic conversations or adjust the heat and light, far short of Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa interactive systems.

Atsushi Nishiguchi, who stayed at the hotel in 2017, said that after growing frustrated with Churi he tried to call the hotel reception but found there was no phone in his room - because he was supposed to use Churi.

He had to call the front desk on his mobile and reach a human. Yoshihisa Ishikawa was repeatedly woken by Churi asking him, “Sorry, I couldn’t catch that. Could you repeat your request?”

At 6 am he realised what was wrong - his snoring was triggering its auto response. Churi developed such a bad reputation that she was removed entirely from the hotel, managers said.

The robot receptionist was also replaced because it could not tell guests about things like flight schedules or help them plan things to do in their stay. In its place are two Velociraptor robots but humans have to help them as well - by copying the passports of new guests.

The hotel’s manager, Takeyoshi Oe, said that the high cost of replacing the robots meant that some of them were four-years-old, which is a lifetime in the robot world. Other issues included two robot luggage carriers which were out of use because they could only reach 24 of the 100 rooms.

The robots can only go on flat surfaces and break down if they get wet when outside moving between buildings. Hideo Sawada, president of the travel company which owns the Strange Hotel, told the Wall Street Journal he had not given up on the idea of a robot hotel, but admitted it needed some tweaking.

He said, “When you actually use robots you realise there are places where they aren’t needed - or just annoy people.”

The fate of the Strange Hotel contrasts with the vision of the future that consumers are sold when it comes to technology. Internet-connected appliances are supposed to make our lives more convenient while self-driving cars will remove the need for drivers in vehicles - or so the theory goes.

Mirror


 

Add new comment