Every year technology is advancing promising benefits for travellers. Both virtual bots (see below) and robots will become increasingly common in travel, from hotels to airports, from travel booking sites to behind the scenes.
Here on Business Traveller TV we look at the ways robots are changing travel.
In other developments,
Eva Air unveiled two interactive robots called Pepper earlier this year. The robots were placed at Taipei’s International airport, one by the check-in desks and another in the reception area of the carriers airport lounge. They are interactive with passengers by scanning their boarding passes. They can also provide travellers with departure details, destination weather updates and Duty Free special offers, as well as play games, shake hands, dance and pose for selfies.
The airport is trialling robots to help passenger flow during the check-in process.
Robots introduced at Aloft Silicon Valley are used as butlers. At the brands Silicon Valley and Cupertino properties the “Botlrs” work around the clock to deliver guests towels, newspapers, toiletries and bottles of water. They can use lifts without help, and when they arrive outside your room they automatically call your phone. They only accept tweets as tips and can pose for selfies.
Air New Zealand
Another airline that introduced robots to its passengers was Air New Zealand over the summer. As part of exploring futuristic technology, the airline placed a social robot at Sydney airport to help passengers check in and board. The experiment lasted five days, as part of collaboration with Commbank and used the company’s Chip Candrioid social Humanoid robot.
The experiment followed the other future technology explorations that Air New Zealand explored back in May. The airline showcased how it was looking into the use of augmented reality by cabin crew to improve the in-flight service experience.
In September the Dorsett Shanghai introduced V Jr, a robot that offers guests information on the hotel’s facilities and local attractions. Through the two robots, guests can use either voice or touch-screen input to get details of the hotel and nearby dining, shopping and exercise options.
Dorsett is one of a number of hospitality and travel companies that have begun exploring the use of robotic assistants. Back in February, M Social Singapore butlers, that can act as delivery assistants transporting amenities and providing other services to guests’ rooms.
The most recent is the introduction of a virtual bot by KLM. The airline released an artificial intelligence messenger bot enabling customers to book tickets “in a conversational way.” The Dutch carrier describes the self-learning AI BlueBot service (BB for short) as “helpful, friendly, professional and edgy.” There are 250 human service colleagues who can take over when the bot is unable to help with queries support it.
KLM aims to expand BB’s skills to offer more services, and for it to be compatible with different digital channels including voice.