Air New Zealand trialling robotic assistant at Sydney Airport

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Air New Zealand will undertake a five-day trial, beginning August 22, to explore the benefits of using a humanoid customer service robot at Sydney Airport in Australia.

Developed by the Commonwealth Bank’s (CommBank) Innovation Lab, Chip CANdroid (Chip) will assist airline passengers at both check-in and the departure gate prior to boarding. CommBank established a social robotics team in late 2016, with the intention of partnering with leading corporates and research institutions to better understand the opportunities and challenges that robotic technologies present.

Tiziana Bianco, general manager, Innovation Labs, Commonwealth Bank said, “This experiment is a great example of why we invested in social robotics; working collaboratively with an innovative client like Air New Zealand, while also engaging some of the brilliant minds from UTS’s Centre for Artificial Intelligence. It is a wonderful opportunity to explore the possibilities of a horizon technology such as social robotics, and what it might enable in the future.

“Social robots can bring to life information that is not particularly engaging when delivered by a screen. People interact with them in a very social and sometimes emotional way, which means they can enhance experiences in ways that other technologies are unable to.”

Avi Golan, chief digital officer, Air New Zealand, said, “This partnership and experiment with CommBank and Chip is another way we are pushing the boundaries to ensure we remain at the forefront of technology which will allow us to further enhance the experience we offer our customers.

“We are also experimenting with potential enhancements of the future, including the idea of our cabin crew one day using Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality viewers on board our aircraft.”

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Dan originally joined Passenger Terminal World in 2014 having spent the early years of his career in the recruitment industry. As online editor, he now produces daily content for the website and supports the editor with the publication of each exciting new issue. When he’s not reporting on the latest aviation news, Dan can be found on the golf course or apprehensively planning his next DIY project.

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