(Photo: LASS Laboratoire)
In one great leap for artificial intelligence and perhaps one step back for the confused airline passenger, KLM Airlines has introduced Spencer, a robot who will guide hapless travelers around the airport.
Spencer will begin a test run at Schipol Amsterdam airport during the first week of December.
KLM opted to donate money to the project because so many passengers were getting lost at the airport and missing their connecting flights.
According to a report on Engadet, “Spencer is equipped with laser range-finding eyes and detailed maps of the airport’s interior.”
“Navigating an airport is challenging, there is a lot of glass and a constantly changing environment in terms of temporary obstructions, such as parked luggage trolleys and people everywhere,” Achim Lilienthal, project leader at Örebro University said in a statement to Engadget. “Objects that are temporarily permanent so to speak, are the most difficult to work around. We do not know, for instance, how long that luggage trolley will be parked in a particular spot, which makes it harder for the robot to determine its own location. We are working on a general map representation that includes and allows the robot to handle temporarily permanent objects.”
Spencer can apparently understand human behavior and speech. He will lead groups through the airport and is allegedly “intelligent” enough to make sure he leaves no passenger behind.
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