Monday, July 10, 2017
Seoul’s Incheon International Airport Hires Fleet of Helpful Robots
BY KIRSTIN FAWCETT
Starting in June, Seoul’s Incheon International Airport will welcome a team of helpful new employees as the nation ramps up preparations for the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang County. The twist? They’re robots.
As the Associated Press reports, a small fleet of self-driving robots called Troika will cruise around the nation's largest airport and help passengers find their gates. Manufactured by LG Electronics, the 4.5-foot high machine responds to its name, and has a large, smartphone-like display on its front that displays flight information, the weather, and an airport map.
When speaking to customers, Troika's touchscreen face will display blinking eyes and a smile. As for Troika’s languages, Travel + Leisure reports that they will include English, Chinese, and Japanese, in addition to Korean.
Airport patrons can use Troika to scan their tickets for flight updates. She then generously offers to lead them to their gates (and instructs travelers to pick up the pace if they’re trailing too far behind).
Travelers won’t be the only ones receiving assistance from smart machines, as a jumbo cleaning robot will also join the custodial staff to help them keep the airport’s floor sparkling clean. In the future, Incheon International Airport Corp. plans to enlist even more robots to provide warnings about banned items, serve meals in lounges, and carry baggage.
But for the most part, the airport's staff will continue to be mostly human, officials say. They’ve reassured employees that Troika and co. haven’t been deployed to steal their jobs—they’re just there to make them easier.