Only in Silicon Valley will a robot return your library books for you.
Residents in downtown Mountain View have gotten their first peek at the future with the debut of BookBot, the library’s newest non-human helper. A creation of Google’s Area 120— an experimental division of the technology juggernaut [Google’s world headquarters (aka: Googleplex) is located in Mountain View] — the bot is the company’s first personal delivery robot to hit the streets and begin interacting with the public, said Christian Bersch, the project’s team lead.
The pilot will run for nine months with a human handler following behind the BookBot for the first six months, he said. That’s just to make sure it’s operating as planned, get it out of trouble as needed and observe how people are responding. After that, a human will sit behind the controls remotely.
From the BookBot FAQ:
Book Bot is a Library book pick-up device that will allow residents in a test area to return books and other Library materials to the Mountain View Public Library from their home once a week.
Book Bot currently operates every Thursday between 11:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. The device will be equipped with headlights to operate after sunset. Book Bot will not operate during rain, hail or similar conditions.
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