Money is pouring into tech companies betting on a strong virtual travel future. Many of these companies are building robots to provide users a live, yet virtual experience. On the surface, robot opportunities appear almost limitless. Uses will evolve over time as users decide what they’ll pay for and companies decide where to invest. The question is, will you use them?
Our hunger for robots to take over our most loathed tasks is far from satisfied. From vacuum cleaners like the Roomba to Flippy the kitchen assistant. We might not be too far away from a time when we wonder how we functioned at all without robot helpers.
The pandemic is giving virtual vacations a boost. People still want experiences, mostly without others right now. Robots to the rescue.
The Skift team recently covered this topic and it is thought-provoking. What about robots moving around for us? Traveling for us by going to places some of us are unable to visit.
The team from Propelmee created Challau for such a purpose:
How about a moving tablet screen with your picture on it? See what the team from Avatarin created:
It’s easy to get caught up in the oh and ah with a shiny new object. But, what would you pay for these robots to do for you?
Certainly times like these you might consider a robot visit to the Louvre in Paris. Is it the same as seeing it with your own eyes? I can’t remember a time I saw a spectacular sight on Google Maps street view and thought, great, been there done that.
The planner in me wouldn’t mind scoping out an area before I arrive. Then again that takes some of the adventures out of it. My thinking though is predicated on at least the option I may go to visit these places someday.
People with physical disabilities might want to know how they can maneuver around safely. A robot site visit would answer questions to ensure comfort before arriving.
People with anxiety will feel calm by experiencing a journey through the robot lens to know what to expect prior to booking a trip.
What about people that cannot physically visit? Such as the elderly in the late stage of life. The journey is impossible. Then, a robot visit will give them the mobility to spend virtual time in a place not thought possible.
Imagine if North Korea partnered with one of these companies. I’m not interested in stepping on that soil currently. But, a robot tour would be interesting.
Dangerous locations such as mines, or unsteady cliffs are intriguing options. Another robot can do the recovery mission if things go sideways.
In-Person Is Still King
I know you’ve thought of other ideas too. It’s crazy to think about the potential.
However, if you’re like me, I believe people make the place. I enjoy traveling not for the Instagram worthy photos. It’s about having experiences with travel partners and/or locals you meet along the way.
Perhaps someday robots will provide a virtual experience that excites the touch, smell, and taste senses too. Until then, it’s lacking somewhat for those of us still able to physically visit the places we desire.
Although if you’re unable or unwilling to venture to some destination, then Challau can be your Sherpa.
Read. Plan. Travel. Repeat!
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