Robot bartenders serve your drinks on the cruise ship of the future
By Stu Robarts
August 26, 2014
Cruise ships can be pretty palatial places. Now, Royal Caribbean has unveiled some of the technologies that will make its newest ship even more luxurious. The Quantum of the Seas will feature high-speed internet, RFID navigation for guests, and robot bartenders.
Ships are, of course, becoming increasingly advanced. Rolls Royce recently outlined its vision of unmanned ships for the future. The technology on the Quantum of the Seas is more about making those on board comfortable, however, rather than doing away with them altogether.
To begin, guest are welcomed on board via a process that Royal Caribbean calls "SMART Check-In," which it says will get guests from the sidewalk to the ship in 10 minutes. Boarding documentation is prepared and printed by guests at home, meaning that boarding formalities are minimized on arrival. RFID tags are attached to items of luggage before they are loaded onto the ship, meaning that guests can then use their smartphones to track where their bags have been taken.
Guest are all issued with RFID wristbands as well. These are for use at iQ concierge consoles located throughout the ship. They allow guests to be identified and can then be used to provide directions (for example back to a guest's room), to make onboard purchases and to book activities. They also act as a guest's room key.
Concierge services are also provided by two new mobile apps. Cruise Planner allows guests to research and book activities before their vacation begins, whilst Royal iQ provides much the same services as the on-board iQ consoles.
Amongst the onboard venues for guests to visit is the Bionic Bar. Drinks are ordered via tablets and robot bartenders then mix and serve them. The robotic arms are powered by the Makr Shakr robotic bartending system. Elsewhere, the Two70 room provides 270-degree panoramic sea views through floor-to-ceiling glass walls across almost three decks, and features six moving robotic screens that stage audio-visual performances throughout the cruises. The North Star, meanwhile, is a "jewel-shaped glass capsule that gently rises more than 300 ft (91 m) in the air," providing 360-degree views.
As you might expect, the Quantum of the Seas provides guests with high-speed internet access. It uses satellite connectivity, and Royal Caribbean says that speeds match fast onshore broadband connections. Video calling, streaming movie and TV content and online gaming is all possible, the firm says.
A number of technological features are also provided in guest rooms. USB outlets are provided for charging devices, whilst interior rooms without a view of the ocean are provided with "Virtual Balconies" that deliver real-time video and audio feeds from outside the ship onto 80-inch LED screens.
The ship itself is 1,141 ft (348 m) long and 136 ft (41 m) wide, with 18 decks in total. It is powered by four bow thrusters with each providing 4,694 hp and producing an overall cruising speed of 22 knots (46 km/h).
The Quantum of the Seas is expected to make its maiden voyage in November of this year.
The video below provides an introduction to the technology that is featured on the Quantum of the Seas.
Source: Royal Caribbean