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Have you always wanted to glimpse a future reality – ideal or dystopian, depending on your point of view – that is almost entirely machine-driven? A new hotel and restaurant in Silicon Valley (where else?) Gives guests the opportunity to do so.
The Ameswell Hotel is an independent hotel in Mountain View that opened in mid-July together with its restaurant, Roger. Both the hotel and restaurant are designed to pay homage to the nearby historic NASA Ames Research Center and live up to its technology-driven billing – it’s the first hotel in the US to use it Served, a self-propelled indoor robot server, according to Ameswell. Eater spoke to Jacky Li, who oversees all food and drinks in the hotel, to learn more about the technology and how it is used at Roger.
And this is how it works: The robots (the Ameswell has two, a third is on the way) were released on arrival to search the entire restaurant, which programmed their computers accordingly. Li set stationary points or home bases for the robots – one near the terrace and one at the bar, two of the busiest areas in the restaurant. The robots remain there, which are equipped with containers on several levels in which (human) waiters deposit dirty dishes and cutlery. “Then we push a button that sends him all the way into the pit area, the dishwasher unloads him and pushes a button that sends him back home. It’s really a very simple process, ”says Li.
The idea behind the robots, says Li, is not to replace workers, but rather to use them as a convenience to servers Protocol. „While the robots are not yet being used for serving, Li would like to try them out in other environments, such as when passing PS in the ballroom during a banquet and maybe finally when delivering food and drinks in a restaurant. „There are many ways to use the robot. We just scratch the surface,” says Li Busser, although you could say they are promoted to servers.
The robots have been a hit with guests since Roger opened a few weeks ago – a family has returned for the second time, and their children want to see the robots again (and play on the hotel’s impressive playground). When asked if it makes him nervous when children show interest in such an expensive device, Li says their greater concern is the safety of the guests, which was quickly put to rest during the experimentation phase. “We tested everything. Put a table in front of it, push a chair in the way, send it through the crowd. It will always find a way to get where it needs to go, but without encountering anything, ”says Li.
“There were moments,” says Li with a laugh. „It’s like a blindfolded person, it doesn’t necessarily know where it is.” If it is lifted or otherwise manually moved, it can become disoriented.
„At the end of the night, we sent it back to its charging station behind the host booth, you know, hit the ‘send to recharge’ button. But it made a wrong turn to the right of the booth and just walked … out the door. We thought it was enough. ”
Roger, at the Ameswell Hotel, is headed by Chef Christian McCallion and serves dinner every evening from 6pm to 10pm. The bar program is led by James Beard Award winner Shelley Lindgren and her husband Greg Lindgren and is open daily from 5pm to midnight.