While the idea of an autonomous robot workforce has been inciting both concern and hope for decades, here at Savioke we’re building robots that are designed to empower human workers, not replace them (nor participate in any kind of robot apocalypse, duh.).
Our flagship robot, Relay, is revolutionizing the customer service aspect of the hospitality industry by giving hotel employees more time to serve guests in the moments where it matters most. Relay is on call anytime an item needs to be delivered to a guest room, freeing up employees to be available for phone calls, warm greetings, and lengthy conversations about the best microbreweries in town if that’s what floats your boat. Relay takes on the mundane task of walking the hallways alone so that employees are able to stay as engaged as possible.
But the hospitality industry is just the start of an autonomous robotic workforce that allows employees to have the most impact in their field. As Savioke co-founder and design-lead, Adrian Canoso, recently told Wired UK Edition, “We’re breaking the boundaries on where robots can go,” adding that the ultimate business plan is to design robots that enable “a peer-to-peer micro-delivery service [to make] the last 300 meters of any delivery more frictionless.”
The healthcare industry has seen the advantage that robots can provide to hospital staff who are often pulled between spending more time with their patients and performing the necessary but less skilled duties of their jobs. “Service robots… are utilized in hospitals to transfer and deliver supplies, pharmaceuticals, patient food trays, and even trash throughout the hospital,” says Dr. Bernadette Keefe, M.D. on behalf of the Mayo Clinic’s Center For Innovation. “Countless hours of repetitive labor are handled by these devices.” Maybe robots are the key to shorter waiting room times? One can hope.
Autonomous robots are also making an impact in the retail landscape, helping survey store shelves (think pharmacy vitamin aisle) so employees can make improvements as necessary. “Large retail environments are typically structured according to ‘planograms’, or visual blueprints of how each shelf should look, created to ensure standardization across stores,” Simbe Robotics CEO, Brad Bogolea, tells Wired UK. “The planogram is the ideal state of the store, and we’re capturing the real state of the store.” With the ideal store state and actual store state captured by the robot, simple pattern matching enables staff to close the gap and improve the shopping environment for their customers.
The possibilities of how robots can augment the human workforce across vast industries are nearly infinite. We believe that humans are at their best when they’re able to work as their authentic, most human selves, and when robots can relieve them of the automated and mundane aspects of their work they are more able to achieve this. Whether at a hotel, a hospital, a grocery store, or any other myriad workplace environments, a patron’s experience can be shaped largely by their interactions with the employees they interact with. Our goal is to improve those interactions for everyone involved, even the robots.