LG introduces robots to replace hotel employees

LG is introducing CLOi (pronounced KLOH-ee), a line of three new concept robots specifically developed for commercial use at hotels, airports and supermarkets. The trio will be unveiled at CES 2018, the Consumer Technology Association’s show, this week in Las Vegas.

The purpose of the Serving Robot is to deliver meals and drinks to guests and customers at hotels and airport lounges quickly and efficiently. The robot can deliver food or refreshments around the clock and with its built-in sliding tray, present the tray to the customer for easy removal. Once the delivery is confirmed, the Serving Robot makes its way back on its own.

Designed to deliver luggage to guests’ rooms, the Porter Robot minimizes the inconvenience that may result from slow service and long wait times during a hotel stay. The Porter Robot can also handle express check-in and check-out service and take care of payment, allowing busy guests to check out and have their luggage delivered to a waiting car in a fraction of the time.

Finally, LG's third new robot is made to work with customers at a supermarket, telling them the price of products and then guiding them through the aisles.

Hotel guests in some major cities are getting used to robots delivering items to their rooms and one hotel in Japan is completely run by robots. Many of the hotel robots are butlers, deliver amenities and roomservice items, like the Relay robot from Savioke at the Luma Hotel Times Square in New York City and the Singapore Hotel Jen. Hotel Jen is the first international hotel brand to use autonomous Savioke Relay robots in Asia.

A representative of the Luma Hotel Times Square has clarified that the hotel's Relay robot, nicknamed Alina, has not replaced any staff members, and the hotel has no plans or intentions to replace any staff members with automations in the future.

The Sheraton Los Angeles San Gabriel Hotel, opening this month, will be the first U.S. hotel to tout eight TUG robots developed by Aethon, a provider of autonomous mobile robots. Visitors to the 288-room hotel will be greeted by Aethon’s 4-foot high, friendly-looking TUG robots whether looking for directions to elevators or receiving an in-room delivery. Having eight robots is a first for the U.S. hotel industry, according to the hotel’s GM.

The new LG robots follow in the footsteps of other robots in the CLOi line: the Airport Guide Robot and the Airport Cleaning Robot recently completed successful trial runs at Korea’s Incheon International Airport. The Lawn Mowing Robot and the Hub Robot, which recently participated in a trial at one of Korea’s largest financial institutions providing information and servicing customers at the bank’s branches, are also part of the CLOi family. LG’s CLOi robots will be developed in parallel to ThinQ products, LG’s AI brand for consumer electronics and home appliances.

A report released by McKinsey & Company last November suggested that by 2030, as many as 800 million workers globally could be replaced by robots. Even if automation adoption is slower than anticipated, as many as 400 million people could still be affected, the report said.

A representative of the Luma Hotel Times Square has clarified that the