Kansai Airports Introduce Interactive Customer Service Robots to Improve Airport Retail
In late August, Kansai Airports introduced remote interactive robots to promote product sales at the retail stores in Kobe Airport. Japan has consistently positioned itself as a pioneer of robotic innovations and the customer service robots are only the latest in a long line of intelligent technology at the Kansai Airports.
The robots are part of the Moonshot Research and Development Programme. The programme consists of Moonshot Goals that the government set to attract people and promote high-risk, high-impact research and development.
The robots, currently being trialled at Kobe Airport are placed near and inside store entrances with staff controlling them to “remotely provide customer service and product recommendations.” More robots will be placed at store shelves to promote recommended products to customers.
To what end?
Kansai Airports Group hoped the robots would increase sales through injecting some novelty into airport retail. Their wider aim was to draw passengers to their airports through “exciting initiatives,” proving customers with new, stimulating travel experiences. The group hoped the integration of this AI would make shopping in the airports fun and ultimately drive sales within the airport higher.
Kansai Airports’ history with AI
The customer service robots are just the latest to join the range of robots aiming to make the experience at Kansai Airports Group airports comfortable, secure, and exciting. The robots all have built-in sensors to stop them bumping into passengers or objects, enabling them to venture round the airports conducting various services.
The chatty security robot, Secom Robot X2 patrols the airport with built-in cameras. It even oversees its designated surroundings whilst recharging its battery.
The cleaning robots facilitate the autonomous cleaning of the terminal buildings.
Additionally, in September 2021 an automated robotic PCR testing system was set up in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This processed up to 2,500 samples a day and could produce PCR certificates in as little as three hours.
Back in 2018, Kansai Airports also conducted the trial of SITA’s intelligent check-in kiosk, Kate. The intelligent kiosk was mobile, autonomously migrating to congested areas of the airport to firefight growing check-in queues.
SITA’s CEO, David Lavorel is speaking at this year’s World Aviation Festival discussing smart technology, automation, and digitalisation in airports. The event will also explore the theme of “Reinventing Retail” delving into the changing landscape of retail within the industry.
Article by Jess Brownlow