A fleet of shiny robots are being rolled out at Haneda Airport in Tokyo this month. Their main objective: to assist travelers in finding their gates and other destinations, TechCrunch reports.
The project, the brainchild of Japanese electronics giant Hitachi, is expected to unroll in several phases. In the first, beginning this week, the robots—dubbed EMIEW—will remain stationary at information counters. Visitors can converse with them in English or Japanese to ask for directions inside the terminals. Next week, EMIEW will start to move around the area, leading passengers to another EMIEW at a desk that will review airport maps on a screen. In the third phase, slated for December, the robots will travel the floor freely, while leading people to departures and gift shops.
Passengers won’t necessarily need to approach EMIEW to ask for their assistance: motion sensors in the robot can detect when someone has been standing still and will introduce themselves. Up to 14 microphones capture speech, with the robot filtering out the ambient noise of the airport. They can also stand themselves up if they happen to be knocked over.
You can watch a media demonstration of EMIEW here:
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