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China's unmanned hotels ride 'contactless' wave

AI and Internet of Things technologies offer cost and quality improvements

Leyeju Smart Hotel customers can check into their room by themselves, using an ID card and facial recognition technology. (Photo courtesy of Leyeju Smart Hotel)

BEIJING -- "Contactless" is the new buzzword in consumer-focused businesses due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. In China, products and services ranging from robotic waiters, to driverless disinfection and sanitation vehicles, to unmanned smart hotels are proliferating.

At unmanned smart hotels, guests can do everything from reserving a room and checking in online using facial recognition, to turning out the lights, drawing the curtains and adjusting the air conditioner -- all without human assistance. They don't even need to touch the gadgets in their rooms, a feature that gives peace of mind in a time of concern about infectious disease.

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