Alibaba A.I. Labs, the department leading AI product development at Alibaba, has launched service robots for the hospitality sector.

This robot will begin providing service to guests at a hotel in October.

The labs’ service robot will deliver meals, take laundry to guests, etc. Guests can talk to robot through voice command, touch & hand gesture, and its responses will be driven by AliGenie, a software powering Alibaba A.I. Labs’ smart speaker Tmall Genie.

Alibaba A.I. Labs general manager Lijuan Chen said: “We are excited by this tremendous development that is helping us bridge the gap between guest needs and the response time that they expect.

“Alibaba A.I. Labs’ robot is the next step in the evolution towards smart hotels. In addition, it is solving pain points in the hotel sector, such as enhancing service efficiency, with our leading AI technologies.”

“The robot will be the ultimate assistant for hotel guests who want everything quickly and conveniently at their fingertips.”

The service robot features aluminum casing with multi-sensor data functionality and a parallel computing system for quick responses.

It also consists of autonomous navigation system to find obstacles, a semantic map, communication systems to control elevators, and facial-recognition technology.

With a height of less than one meter, the robot’s walking speed reaches one meter per second. Following a trial at a hotel, Alibaba A.I. Labs will analyse its suitability for other areas such as hospitals, restaurants and offices.

International Federation of Robotics forecast that the global market for service robots would grow from 20% to 25% from 2018 to 2020.

Alibaba A.I. Labs also launched Tmall Genie Auto, thereby expanding the Tmall Genie ecosystem.

Tmall Genie is a smart speaker with over 5 million units sold since its launch in 2017 in China.