German airport operator Fraport has deployed a new robotic concierge named FRAnny to assist passengers at Frankfurt Airport.
FRAnny is able to answer a wide range of questions about the airport, including directing passengers to the correct gate or a specific restaurant, or helping them to access the free wi-fi.
The robotic concierge is a cooperative project between Fraport and DB Systel, railway operator Deutsche Bahn’s dedicated IT service provider. Travelers at major transportation hubs, such as airports and train stations, are very often in need of guidance. In these scenarios, digital assistants and robots can support human personnel by fielding routine inquiries, thus enhancing the customer service offering.
A six-week trial at Frankfurt Airport will help evaluate FRAnny in terms of functionality, customer acceptance and its practical usefulness in everyday situations
FRAnny is based on an artificial intelligence (AI) and a cloud-based voice-user interface that can be deployed in a variety of forms – including in chatbots, voice assistants and robots. Using data drawn from the airport’s information system, FRAnny is able to understand and answer questions relating to travel, airport facilities, and more. In addition to providing flight information, FRAnny is well versed in small talk and can communicate in German, English and seven other languages.
Fraport and Deutsche Bahn have been jointly exploring the potential of artificially intelligent, voice-based customer service systems since 2017. The first pilot took place at Frankfurt Airport in spring 2018 using FRAnny’s predecessor. After approximately 4,400 interactions, 75% of passengers rated their exchange positively. Based on the feedback received, both the AI component and the robot’s user interface were further improved.