Japanese Theme Park to Open “Robot Kingdom”
Alexander Neil / 2 years ago
A Japanese theme park, Huis Ten Bosch have revealed that they plan to open a “robot kingdom” on site in July, which will include over 200 robot automatons which will provide customer service to those visiting the park. A number of companies will be providing the robots that will populate the robot kingdom, including Denso, Yaskawa Electric and Sharp with as many as 20 other companies being onboard in some capacity. These robots will include a chef that can cook okonomiyaki, a bartender that can mix more than 10 cocktails and a number of wait staff that attend to and clean up after customers.
The increased presence of robots at the Dutch-themed park will build on its existing “smart hotel” which opened last summer. At the hotel, guests are checked in by automatons, provide customer information and even carry luggage up to the guest rooms, which has cut the original human workforce of the hotel by more than half, in lieu of more robots. Despite their inability to perform some tasks, such as climbing stairs, the robots are surprisingly capable and as a result of the automation, the hotel is able to offer lower rates per night than other hotels at the Huis Ten Bosch park.
For the standard price of a day pass to the park, 6,500 yen, visitors will be able to not only enjoy all of the entertainment that the park has to offer, but also interact and even touch most of the robots that work there. As well as offering an interesting robot experience for guests, the park also sees the robot kingdom as a way to “bring international enterprises together to further robot development,” according to Hideo Sawada, president of the park’s operator. “Robots will arrive in this kingdom one after another, and the time will come when those technologies will be in use worldwide.”
Whether this move to increase the usage of robots will pay off remains to be seen, as while robots do not require the same continuous costs as paying human staff, each bot will be a high upfront cost and require maintenance and spare parts should it become damaged in its duties. It all depends on whether the robotic serving staff will be able to draw in the crowds enough to make them worthwhile and the success of this robot kingdom could just show the rest of the world the success of robotics in more and more job roles.