Seoul’s Incheon International Airport Hires Fleet of Helpful Robots

 LG Electronics
LG Electronics

Starting in June, Seoul’s Incheon International Airport will welcome a team of helpful new employees as the nation ramps up preparations for the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang County. The twist? They’re robots.

As the Associated Press reports, a small fleet of self-driving robots called Troika will cruise around the nation's largest airport and help passengers find their gates. Manufactured by LG Electronics, the 4.5-foot high machine responds to its name, and has a large, smartphone-like display on its front that displays flight information, the weather, and an airport map.

When speaking to customers, Troika's touchscreen face will display blinking eyes and a smile. As for Troika’s languages, Travel + Leisure reports that they will include English, Chinese, and Japanese, in addition to Korean.

Airport patrons can use Troika to scan their tickets for flight updates. She then generously offers to lead them to their gates (and instructs travelers to pick up the pace if they’re trailing too far behind).

Travelers won’t be the only ones receiving assistance from smart machines, as a jumbo cleaning robot will also join the custodial staff to help them keep the airport’s floor sparkling clean. In the future, Incheon International Airport Corp. plans to enlist even more robots to provide warnings about banned items, serve meals in lounges, and carry baggage.

But for the most part, the airport's staff will continue to be mostly human, officials say. They’ve reassured employees that Troika and co. haven’t been deployed to steal their jobs—they’re just there to make them easier.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

The Mental Floss Store Is Back!

Mental Floss Store
Mental Floss Store

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The 10 Most Visited National Parks in 2019

Josiah Weiss, Unsplash
Josiah Weiss, Unsplash

The U.S. National Park System comprises more than 400 sites, 62 of which are national parks. Within the parks, visitors can explore forests, deserts, volcanoes, and more. But even with the diversity the National Park System has to offer, many visitors find themselves going to the same iconic parks year after year. To see the most-visited national parks in 2019, check out the list below.

This list comes from recreational visitation data gathered by the National Park Service. It doesn't include national monuments, parkways, or similar units—just the sites with the official "national park" designation.

The Great Smoky Mountains tops the list with roughly 12.5 million visits last year. Stretching across five counties in North Carolina and Tennessee, it's less than a day's drive away for one-third of the U.S. population. The accessibility plus the free admission and gorgeous mountain scenery help make it the country's most popular national park.

It's followed by Arizona's Grand Canyon National Park, which saw 5.97 million visits in 2019 to witness its world-famous views. Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park takes third place with 4.7 million visits, and Utah's Zion National Park takes fourth with 4.5 million. Read on for the full top 10.

The National Park Service was established just over a century ago, and it's amassed a fascinating history. Here are some more facts about the United States's national parks.

  1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  2. Grand Canyon National Park
  3. Rocky Mountain National Park
  4. Zion National Park
  5. Yosemite National Park
  6. Yellowstone National Park
  7. Acadia National Park
  8. Grand Teton National Park
  9. Olympic National Park
  10. Glacier National Park