As hotels and restaurants struggle with ongoing staffing shortages, some are turning to non-human help.
Listen to the latest episode of "Bay Current" below.
With that, a new robot named "Wall-E" is making the room service rounds at the Radisson Hotel in Sunnyvale.
"Our robot is a beautiful tool that we have at the hotel," General Manager Alex Martinez told KCBS Radio. The waist-high robot – reminiscent of R2-D2 – delivers room service items in a sealed compartment that opens up once it arrives at your room.
To navigate through the hotel, Wall-E uses cameras and even has a metal finger to push elevator buttons.
"It's scary," hotel guest Cliff Abernathy said. "It gave me a little bit of a heart attack. I think I'd rather have COVID than deal with that thing."
Both others may rather interact with a robot than a human during the pandemic. "You know, I don't really look at it as replacing people as much as taking a load off the people that are there," said Steve Cousins, CEO of Cupertino-based Savioke, the robotics company that designed Wall-E.
He explained their droids are also being used for deliveries in hospitals.
"Everybody has the things that they're good at and putting a robot on a team allows the rest of the team to work at the top of their license," Cousins added.
Orders for Savioke's robots tripled just before the coronavirus pandemic.
To learn more about Wall-E, listen to Wednesday's episode of KCBS Radio's "Bay Current."