Robots deployed at Japanese airport for passenger services

Electronics giant Hitachi is trialling a project that will see robots placed at Japan’s busiest airport to help give passengers information.

The EMIEW3 robot is currently in the middle of a series of tests at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport where it performing a range of functions that help guide travellers around the location.

The first proof-of-concept phase in early-September was to have the robot placed on a stand close to one of the airport’s information boards, answering questions and highlighting related maps and photos of areas at the facility.

A recently completed test allowed the robot to move from one area of Terminal 2 to the information boards, acting as a guide to passengers.

The final phase, scheduled for December this year, will see the robot lead passengers to the location related to the passenger’s query.

EMIEW3, which was initially developed some 11 years ago by Hitachi, has developed to the extent that it performs physical interactions with passengers and speaks in both Japanese and English.

Hitachi says the airport is an ideal test bed for the robot as it handles both domestic and international travellers, many of the latter are often changing flights and unfamiliar with the location.

“There has been an increasing demand to improve ‘barrier free’ services and provide greater information accessibility to all persons using this airport; at the same time, this is an ideal location for introducing Japan’s cutting-edge technologies to the world.”

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Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May was a co-founder and member of the editorial team from September 2009 to June 2017.



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  1. Natalie

    Kevin, thank you for your Japan-related article.
    There are a few other new developments taking place in Japan: multilingual “interpreting” Telephones (English, Chinese and Korean so far), for a few euros a real bilingual person can assist you via phone – very useful in Japan.
    More robots are to come!

  2. Glenn Gruber

    @charlotte, the kids will love it because it’s the right height for them. The parents will hate it because of the ache in their backs after bending down.

    Unless this robot is working at Hobbiton International Airport in The Shire, I’m not sure why you trial such a short robot.

  3. Charlotte Lamp Davies

    The kids will love it – Hoping to meet a EMIEW3 when I’m next in Japan 😉


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