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MIT Technology Review

Alibaba has a robot bellhop that will deliver your room service

The Chinese e-commerce company has launched the Space Egg, a new service robot.

What is it? The aptly named robot looks like a futuristic titanium egg. It’s built to be deployed in hospitality roles, doing things like delivering meals or laundry to guests. Guests will be able to talk to the robot via voice command, touch, and gesture.

Let’s just hope they’re not in a hurry: The bot has a dizzying top speed of one meter per second. It’ll be starting its first jobs next month.

Who wants this? The value case for hotel robots has not yet been proved—they’re still just a novelty. Some high-end hotels have been giving them a shot for years, but they have yet to catch on. They are often expensive investments for businesses and don’t offer much more convenience than a human. But more companies continue to offer their own hospitality bots, so we’ll have to wait and see if the costs get low enough for robo-bellhops to become the norm.

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