Commonwealth Bank of Australia is putting its experimental humanoid robot Chip to work at Sydney Airport to assist Air New Zealand customers as they check in at the gate prior to boarding.
The bank paid A$300,000 for Chip last year, one of only three REEM robots from Spanish firm PAL Robotics in the world, as part of a two year academic partnership with University of Technology Sydney (UTS), the Australian Technology Network of Universities (ATN), and property development giant Stockland.
The five-day experiment at Sydney Airport is aimed at understanding how humans and robots interact in dynamic social spaces.
Tiziana Bianco, general manager Innovation Labs, Commonwealth Bank says: “This experiment is a wonderful opportunity to explore the possibilities of a horizon technology such as social robotics, and what it might enable in the future. Social robots can bring to life information that is not particularly engaging when delivered by a screen. People interact with them in a very social and sometimes emotional way, which means they can enhance experiences in ways that other technologies are unable to.”
Air New Zealand has worked with a range of technology partners to introduce innovations online and at the check-in, including Oscar, an artificial intelligence-backed chatbot on its Website and biometric bag drops which identify customers using face-to-passport recognition.
Air New Zealand chief digital officer, Avi Golan, says: “We are also experimenting with potential enhancements of the future, including the idea of our cabin crew one day using Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality viewers on board our aircraft.”
Air New Zealand customers can meet Chip at the Air New Zealand check-in counter and selected departure gates at Sydney International Airport until Friday 25 August.