Passengers arriving at Tokyo Haneda Airport for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics can expect help with language and baggage from robots scattered about the terminal.
An official from the airport unveiled seven new robots designed to perform these tasks and hopes that it will be “normal” by 2020 to see visitors communicating with machines.
Robocot is a fluffy cat mascot that can carry out simultaneous interpretation in four different languages. Passengers speak into a furry microphone attached to the robot, and translations appear instantly on a smart screen.
Another robot, Cinnamon, may approach passengers and ask if there is anything they need. This sleek white robot can talk with people through its AI system and give them directions.
Other robots can carry baggage through the airport alongside the passenger and others that work with security.
As Haneda Airport is expecting a big increase in passengers into Japan for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, it hopes robots can compensate for a lack of staff.
The robots are aimed especially at foreign passengers, who will be looking forward to seeing Japan’s technology in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
The robots will be on a trial for a month at Haneda from January 9.
Robots at Japanese airports
Quite a few robots are in use or have been trialled at Japanese airports in the last two years.
PassengerSelfService.com has reported these:
- Nao, a multilingual, humanoid robot guide trialed by Japan Airlines at Haneda airport in February 2016.
- ASIMO, from Honda, welcomed passengers to Narita in March 2016.
- EMIEW3, from Hitachi, has helped guide passengers through Haneda.
- Kokoro sold insurance and gave passengers airport advice at Tokyo Narita.
- Japan Airlines started trialing a baggage robot from Omron at the domestic terminal at Fukuoka Airport.
- HOSPI from Panasonic has collected dishes at Narita International.
Robots at airports around the world
The number of robots trialed at airports (and ports) is increasing and includes:
- AnBot at Shenzhen Airport
- Airbot from LG, coming to Seoul
- ASIMO at Tokyo Narita
- Athena at Los Angeles
- EMIEW3 at Tokyo Haneda
- GLAdys at Glasgow
- Nao for Japan Airlines at Tokyo Haneda
- Leo at Geneva
- Norma, Amelia, and Piper at San Jose
- Pepper for EVA at Taipei
- ‘Sheldon’ at Indianapolis
- Spencer at Amsterdam Schiphol
- Unnamed at Seoul Incheon
- Zunpeng Xiaobao for Shenzhen Airlines
Kokoro, the very human like assistant at Narita, AnBot at Shenzhen Airport with the cattle prod and the Sheldon Cooper lookalike at Indianapolis remain in the top three.
N.B. Image credit: ALSOK