Innovation That Matters

Japanese airport offers robo-assistants to help travelers find their way

Travel & Tourism

Electronics giant, Hitachi, is trialing a hospitality robot service at Haneda airport, Tokyo.

The variety of tasks which robots now undertake is mind-boggling from cooking fresh meals from a menu in under 5 minutes to checking in baggage at the airport to providing bespoke physiotherapy. Now, Hitachi are trialling a new humanoid robot which will guide lost travelers around airports

Launched at Haneda airport in Tokyo, the Hitachi EMIEW3 currently speaks in English and Japanese. It offers spoken guidance, as well as more information via an info display system which is installed next to the counter. The robot travels around the airport at a steady 3.7mph and can even pick itself up if it falls down. The trial will feature three phases: During phase 1, the robot will be stationary at a counter and will direct users to information on the display system; in phase 2, the robot will be able to move to the display of its own accord and answer questions in conversation with travelers;  the ambitious third phase, in December,  will see the robot accompanying members of the public to their chosen location in the airport.

“Japan has seen a recent increase in the number of foreign visitors, an increase which has raised the need for a variety of services to enable them to make the most of their visit,” said Hiroshi Sato, senior vice president and executive officer at Hitachi, adding that Hitachi hoped to increase the number of EMIEW3 languages available to include Chinese and Korean. Are there other ways that robots can be used to improve tourists’ experience?



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