Hitachi has begun tests of passenger services using its “EMIEW3” humanoid robot, designed to guide people to the correct destination.
The EMIEW3 is a humanoid robot that moves independently with customers who require support in shopping malls and other public spaces.
It will talk to passengers in Japanese and English at a designated information centre as well as display information.
At a demonstration on Friday morning, a female foreign passenger asked EMIEW3 for directions to a foreign exchange counter.
The humanoid robot at the information center called another EMIEW3 robot to take her to the location. “Please follow me,” the robot said.
The Proof of Concept (PoC) tests will be conducted at Haneda Airport Passenger Terminal 2.
Through these PoC tests, Hitachi and Hitachi Building Systems will strive to create new added value in order to enhance customer reception and guidance services in locations where many customers gather, such as shopping malls, airports, and other public facilities.
Hitachi originally developed the EMIEW robot, which engages in dialogue and physical interactions with humans, in 2005. After numerous modifications, the EMIEW3 was released in April 2016.
Haneda Airport is a “gateway to the world” that welcomes not only passengers traveling within Japan, but also foreign travelers visiting Japan from other countries.
“We are hoping to use EMIEW3 to assist efforts to extend hospitality at Haneda airport through our trial runs,” said Hiroshi Sato, senior vice president and executive officer at Hitachi.
A recent increase in the number of foreign visitors to Japan has raised the need for a variety of services, Sato said, adding that Hitachi hoped to increase the number of EMIEW3 languages available to include Chinese and Korean.