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Wednesday, 7th September 2016
In Japan Travel News,

Haneda Airport gets helpful rollerskating robots

Airports are constantly trying to keep abreast of technology in order to offer the best customer service to passengers.

Now, an airport in Japan is trialling the use of rollerskating robots to ensure that new arrivals don’t get lost and have all their needs met.

Haneda Airport is one of the two main transport hubs that serve Tokyo and handles 75 million passengers a year.

Visitors can expect to be greeted by small humanoid robots called EMIEW3 when entering the terminal building, which will offer them assistance.

Capable of communicating in both English and Japanese, the 90-centimetre tall bots will mainly guide passengers to their destinations.

At present, the initiative is a trial being carried out by Hitachi Ltd, but if all is successful, the EMIEW3 fleet could be rolled out permanently as early as December.

The robots are being deployed at information points throughout Terminal 2, reports The Japan Times.

They are capable of working in teams and one bot may call another to guide a passenger to a specific location, such as the foreign currency exchange counter.

EMIEW, the little red and white robot, was first unveiled in 2015 and the newest version, the EMIEW3 was introduced in April this year (2016).

It features a remote brain, which is capable of processing images and voices, but its most innovative element is the inclusion of a remote operation system that allows multiple robots to work together.

The next step in the project would to be add extra languages to the EMIEW3, so it can help as many passengers as possible at the airport.

Hiroshi Sato, senior vice president and executive officer at Hitachi, told the news provider: “We are hoping to use EMIEW3 to assist efforts to extend hospitality at Haneda Airport through our trial runs.”

If all goes to plan, the robot could be seen welcoming visitors to Japan at airports across the country in the near future.

Related news stories:
Japan tests full body scanners at 3 international airports (16th October 2015)
Facial recognition trials finish at Tokyo airports (18th September 2014)
BA plans new Japanese flights (22nd September 2010)
Japan's regional airports handling 60% more international flights (9th October 2015)
JR East to improve access to Haneda (15th September 2014)