Amsterdam airport will unveil a test of ‘Spencer’ – a robot designed to help passengers navigate the airport. Amsterdam is one of the easier airports to get around, in my view, so I’m not sure the urgency that led KLM to dedicate funds toward its development. However, it’s at least believed “[n]avigating it is so challenging…many of its customers were getting lost and missing flights.”
The team has also trained Spencer to understand human behaviors and, to some degree, social mores. For example, the robot will not simply barrel through a crowd of people, but rather sidestep the group. It’s also cognizant enough to occasionally check on the group it’s leading to ensure that nobody’s been left behind. “This technology can be used in all robots intended to interact with humans.
The one week trial begins Monday, and an official roll out of the technology is planned for March.
Perhaps their use could expand and US carriers might consider using them to escort premium passengers through the airport, matching services often offered by top quality airlines in lower labor cost parts of the world.