High-tech innovations

Robots to soon dominate airports

| Author / Editor: Ahlam Rais / Ahlam Rais

The Pepper robot has the ability to interact with humans through conversation and its touch screen which is positioned on his chest.
The Pepper robot has the ability to interact with humans through conversation and its touch screen which is positioned on his chest. (Source: Soft Bank Robotics)

Airports around the world are exploring the use of service robots to enhance its services for passengers. MM International lists down three diverse robots that aim to make the airport experience for travelers less stressful and more pleasant.

Airports are always bustling with people travelling for business, vacations or even to meet their loved ones. This is why it is normal to find long queues here especially during the festive season. At any airport, numerous activities are constantly taking place including handing over the tickets after verification, answering queries asked by travelers, cleaning the airport, loading/unloading the luggage, and so on. To assist these ever-busy airports, robot manufacturers have come up with service robots that especially cater to this industry.


The Pepper robot has recently joined duty at the Christchurch Airport in New Zealand. With a height of 120 cm, the white robot is capable of recognising faces and basic human emotions. Claimed to be the world’s first social humanoid robot, Pepper has the ability to interact with humans through conversation and its touch screen which is positioned on his chest. The screen shows content in order to support its speech and highlight messages. The robot welcomes passengers and answers their questions about shops, restaurants and flight operations. The robot is also equipped with infrared sensors, bumpers, an inertial unit, 2D and 3D cameras, and sonars for omnidirectional and autonomous navigation.

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The multinational information technology company SITAconducted a trial run of its Kate robot at the Kansai Airport in Japan. The intelligent check-in kiosk is based on artificial intelligence and geo-navigation which helps it to move to crowded areas at the airport where additional check-in services are required. Kate also comprises a collision avoidance technology along with various data sources which enables the robot to decide where it should be at a specific period of time. For instance, whether it should move to a crowded area in order to reduce the check-in queues or go and charge itself due to low power.


Standing at 4.5 feet, the Troika intelligent robot can be found at Seoul’s Incheon International Airport in South Korea. The robot comprises a giant screen which shows eyes that blink and smile while conversing with passengers. Capable of offering information on flights, and the weather of the passenger’s final destination, Troika can also assist passengers to their boarding gates if they wish (once they scan their boarding pass). The robot also requests passengers to stay close to it in case they are lagging behind. Troika is programmed to speak in English, Korean, Chinese, and Japanese.

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There are many other service robots that carry out different tasks at global airports. Guess it’s just a matter of time now that more robots are added to this industry and they start dominating our airports.

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