Munich Airport Has a Humanoid Robot Talking to Passengers

Feb 15, 2018

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Flying through Munich Airport? Be sure to stop by Terminal 2 and say hello to Josie the Robot.  Josie Pepper is the first humanoid robot ever tested at an airport in Germany. Starting today, February 15, the nearly four-foot-tall robotic helper will welcome travelers to the non-public area of Terminal 2, which is jointly operated by Munich Airport (MUC) and Lufthansa.

According to a statement released by Lufthansa, Josie Pepper speaks English and is well-equipped to answer questions about flight operations, restaurants and shops. Whether travelers are in need of directions to a duty-free shop or a departure gate, Josie is ready and able to answer. For now, the robot is in a test phase.  

Josie is powered by a high-performance processor with a WLAN internet access which is linked to airport data. She was developed by SoftBank Robotics, a French company which owns Aldebaran Robotics, the same manufacturers behind EVA Air’s robot lounge assistant in Taipei’s Taiwan Taoyuan Airport (TPE). 

According to Munich Airport, what sets the system apart is that “when this robot type speaks, it does not just deliver pre-defined texts. With its ability to learn, it answers each question individually. Just like a real brain, the system gets steadily better at combining questions with the relevant information to provide more precise replies.”

Here, Josie Pepper is providing direction to the nearest play area.

The robot has been programmed so that it can sense any query by simply looking into the eyes of passenger, and can promptly guide them as needed. Humanoid robots like Josie are no stranger to airports around the world. In Japan and other countries, Josie’s robot colleagues are often seen in shops, hotels and airports, where they welcome customers and answer inquiries. 

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