Are robots going to become the future of airline travel? Undoubtedly, and it seems so if we take into account the recent achievements of EVA Air. Taiwan’s leading independent airline, which currently offers nonstop flights to Taipei from Chicago and various other destinations worldwide, has unveiled what we would call the next big thing to take place in the commercial aviation industry.
EVA Air has introduced a peppy little interactive robot named “Pepper” at two international airports in Taiwan. These two airports – Taoyuan International Airport and Songshan International Airport – are based in the country’s capital city Taipei from where the airline conducts its flights operations. The robot Pepper is 48 inches tall, and weighs 64 pounds. It also has 27 sensors and 20 flexible joints for carrying out various instructions by the passengers.
The robot has been designed to carry out various functions such as scanning boarding passes and providing departure details, giving weather updates to passengers for their respective destinations, and informing passengers about airline promotions and duty free special offers. The robot also poses for photos with passengers, dances, shake hands and play games.
EVA Air currently has only two such robots deployed for duties. One of the robots has been deployed at Taoyuan International Airport. It can be found in the VIP lounge reception area of the airport and functions as a greeter (welcoming passengers). The other robot has been deployed at Songshan International Airport in front of the international check-in counter. The robots can only understand and respond in Chinese at the moment. The airline is however planning to add Japanese and English languages by the end of March this year. Moreover new functionalities would also be added in these robots. The airline is so for not planning to deploy the robots at its gateways in the United States or any other country, but is likely to do so in the future.