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Spencer The Robot Will Show Travelers the Way Through Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport

It may not be ready to conduct a dialogue, but it’s learning how to keep passengers entertained, especially those who have lost their flight because they couldn’t find their way to the terminal. As a matter of fact, going through the Netherlands’ main international airport has been cited to be rather difficult by some people before, which is one of the reasons there’s going to be a robot leading the way starting with next week.
Spencer robot 1 photo
To keep things precise, it should be said that Spencer is the name of the project, and the robot you see in the picture is part of it. A joint campaign funded by the European Commission, this project is a collaboration between researchers and businesses in five different countries. Now, with the help of researchers at Örebro University in Sweden, the robot has received a mapping enhancement, another reason it will be touring the airport for a week.

Starting next Monday, November 30, the robot will be testing both its conversational and orientational skills. It’s all part of a bigger trial that sees the machine showcasing the project’s evolution in front of representatives of the European Commission, along with other prominent guests.

Until the official release, however, Spencer will be guiding passengers unaccustomed to the international airport from one gate to the other. According to Science Daily, Örebro has equipped the robot with a prerequisite for navigation - maps. The robot then surveys its surroundings by measuring the distance to various obstructions using laser beams.

"People in motion are not that tricky either. 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," says Achim Lilienthal, professor of computer science and project leader at Örebro University.

As mentioned above, the robot is also empowered to friendly interact with passengers in an attempt to get to know people and understand them for future research. Moreover, Dutch airline KLM may end up using such robots to assist its clients around the airport soon, considering it has encountered cases of people who lost money because they couldn’t get to the right gate in time.

 
 
 
 
 

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