British Airways is the latest airline to announce plans to trial fully autonomous robots in 2020.
From 2020, the airline is trialling AI-powered autonomous robots at Heathrow Terminal 5 to help some passengers navigate through the airport.
The airline is doing this as its says it wants to enable its airport hosts to concentrate on more complex customer queries.
The robots are programmed to interact with passengers in different languages using the latest translation technology to answer thousands of questions, including real-time flight information.
Using geo-location technology and sensors to constantly monitor a 360˚radius, the robots will move around the airport terminal freely and safely, escorting passengers to specific locations such as the airline’s dedicated Special Assistance and Family Check-In zones.
The robots will be called ‘Bill’ as an ode to Lt E H “Bill” Lawford, the captain of the world’s first scheduled international service by British Airways’ predecessor Air Transport and Travel, which flew from Hounslow Heath, Middlesex to Paris on 25 August 1919.
Robots with airlines and airports
British Airways are a little behind in the introduction of robots, but that is typical of their approach to most technology. Be early, but not the first. Not a bad approach.
The number of robots trialled 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.
British Airways (BA)