Robots and their impact on sporting events

By | 2 minute read | August 15, 2016

Connie, IBM's concierge robot

As athletes and coaches begin to adopt IoT technology, 21st century fans are beginning to expect more from sporting events. The world of robotics and AI have so much to offer in terms of event management, so why not bring bots to stadiums the world over?

Using robots to organize fans

Concierge robots could bring so much to the sports fan experience. Fans come from far and wide to attend major events, such as the World Cup, the Super Bowl, the Tour de France, and so on. They stay in hotels, hostels, and shared-homes. The use of concierge bots could be invaluable to tourists. These robots could understand natural speech (in a multitude of languages) and provide guests with information about all manor of things including restaurant recommendations, sight-seeing options, directions, and more. The Hilton hotel in McLean, Virginia, already uses an IBM concierge robot in order to assist guests.

After checking in with your robot concierge about what time to leave to catch your favorite event, you could go outside where you would find an autonomous vehicle waiting to transport fans to venues. These buses could scan your ticket and know where to drop you off. Once onboard, the self-driving vehicle could give you a tour of the city on the way to an event. Olli, a self-driving electric shuttle made by Local Motors, can drive passengers to their destinations without a driver. Driverless vehicles such as Olli could transport passengers at all hours of the day and would cut down on travel times by avoiding high-traffic areas.

Robots move into concession stands

Robot chefs could provide athletes and sports fans with a taste from home during their travels. Moley robotics has created the world’s first intelligent robotic kitchen. The kitchen has a fully programmable library of recipes that can be uploaded from around the world. Using this technology, athlete’s could eat mom’s famous spaghetti the night before the big game. With athlete’s comforted by the taste of home, they can have one less thing to worry about in their quest for victory.

Robots could even make their way into helping in sporting events themselves. Robot ball boys and girls could help in the US Open in order to be more discreet and pick up balls more efficiently.

Robots could also help with event setup and organization. Robots could check equipment in football, basketball, soccer, and more to ensure that no equipment has been tampered with or is faulty. Intelligent drone technology could be used to assist referees and officials to make more accurate calls, and ensure that fans and refs alike always have the best view of the action.

Creating smarter, more accessible sporting events has always been a priority. By introducing robotics to the arena and supporting areas, visitors and athletes alike can have an improved experience. In the age of robotics, it seems only natural that our greatest technologies would find a home at our greatest competitions on the planet.

To learn more about the future of robotics and AI, read my blog post The future is bright with AI and robotics.

What do you think robotics could bring to sporting events? Leave a comment below.