Aviation

Air NZ trials future of travel with social robots

Air New Zealand customers at Sydney Airport will get to experience the role robots may play in future travel journeys this week.

The airline is partnering with CommBank in a five-day experiment utilising Chip CANdroid, the bank’s social humanoid robot, which will interact with and assist Air NZ customers checking in and at the gate prior to boarding.

Air New Zealand Chief Digital Officer Avi Golan said, “This partnership and experiment with Commbank and Chip is another way we are pushing the boundaries to ensure we remain at the forefront of technology which will allow us to further enhance the experience we offer our customers.”

Air New Zealand has worked with a range of technology partners to introduce innovations which are enhancing the experience it offers customers.

For example, Oscar, the artificial intelligence–backed chatbot has been introduced to assist customers with a more personalised online experience or biometric bag drops which identify customers using face-to-passport recognition.

“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 onboard our aircraft,” said Golan.

Commonwealth Bank established a social robotics team within its Sydney Innovation Lab in late 2016, with the goal of partnering with different businesses to get robots out of the concept stage and into commercial contexts.

Tiziana Bianco, General Manager Innovation Labs, Commonwealth Bank said, “This experiment is a great example of why we invested in social robotics; working collaboratively with an innovative client like Air New Zealand, while also engaging some of the brilliant minds from UTS’s Centre for Artificial Intelligence.

“It is a wonderful opportunity to explore the possibilities of a horizon technology such as social robotics, and what it might enable in the future.”

Bianco added 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 do,” she said.

“Chip is one of the most advanced humanoid robots in the world, and is perfect for our work aimed at understanding how humans and robots interact in dynamic social spaces.

“The opportunity to experiment with a robot like Chip in a real world environment such as Sydney Airport is unique, even on a global scale.”

Air New Zealand customers can meet Chip at the Air New Zealand check-in counter and at selected departure gates at Sydney International Airport until Friday 25 August.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Destinations

Australia extends halt on Kiwi travellers for another three days

Australian health authorities have decided New Zealanders aren’t quite ready to travel quarantine-free, as two more cases surface across the ditch.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

More than $33m already paid to travel agents as part of government support package

Did you assume that the federal government’s agent support package was already oversubscribed? Well, it appears there’s still time to grab your share of the $128 million.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Bench Africa GM Cameron Neill exits

by Huntley Mitchell

Cameron Neill has slung his camera over his shoulder and walked off into the sunset. But not before taking a few snaps of it, of course.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Queensland and South Australia to reopen borders for NSW travellers

Things are starting to look up for Berejiklian, even if she did find out about Palaszczuk’s big news at the same time everyone else did.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Carnival Cruise Line announces cancellations and suspensions through to 2023

Spare a thought for the cruise line’s support team, who are madly racing to get in contact with all affected agents and customers.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

JetBlue slams “frivolous” lawsuit over alleged blocking of OTAs

Did you hear someone yell “OOOOOOH, BURN!” in the general vicinity of Surry Hills this morning? Don’t worry, it was just Travel Weekly’s editor upon reading this news.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

Klook raises $262 million, appoints new boss for Australia and New Zealand

The travel tech player is plotting an aggressive local expansion. However, that’s not to suggest Klook staff will be throwing punches at its rivals.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

DoubleTree by Hilton Esplanade Darwin to reopen accommodation in February

All Travel Weekly’s editor could think about while writing his story was DoubleTree by Hilton’s famous cookies. He now has drool stains all over his shirt.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

NEW BUILD: Viking to introduce Nile river ship

The cruise line has doubled down on its commitment to cruising in Egypt with the promise of a third purpose-built ship.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Wendy Wu Tours is dishing out free single rooms for solo travellers

Do your clients love group touring, but also need a bit of quiet time and personal space? Wendy Wu has swooped in to provide the goods.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

AFTA prompts ACCC to update advice on COVID-affected travel

AFTA boss Darren Rudd has been rolling up his sleeves so much that his buttoned shirt is starting to resemble a tank top.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

More than 100 million tourism jobs could be saved in 2021: WTTC

The Wolrd Travel & Tourism Council reckons the industry is getting ready to pick itself up, shake itself off and sashay towards recovery.

Share

CommentComments