Story: Meet Bill: The Robot that will help passengers get around the airport
The EIC-funded company BotsAndUs announced a partnership with British Airways to provide a solution that will reduce travel stress by assisting all passengers with relevant information to their journey and airport stay. The robot Bill will interact with customers in multiple languages and escort them to locations such as cafes, toilets, meeting rooms and family check-in zones.
Passenger experience seems to be at the centre of airport strategy conversations. Some still in proof-of-concept trials, some already planning permanent deployments, airports around the world chose to employ robotics solutions to improve their passenger experience and operational efficiency. The airline British Airways has announced that from 2020 it will trial AI-powered autonomous robots at its home Heathrow Terminal 5 to help some of the 90.000 customers who travel through the terminal each day navigate through the airport.
The cutting-edge robots from BotsAndUs have the latest translation technology and they are programmed to answer thousands of questions, including real-time flight information. Additionally, they are using geolocation technology and dozens of advanced sensors to constantly monitor a 360˚radius. Bill Robots can move around the airport terminal freely and safely, escorting customers to specific locations.
“These smart robots are the latest innovation allowing us to free up our people to deal with immediate issues and offer that one-on-one service we know our customers appreciate. In the future, I envisage a fleet of robots working side-by-side with our people offering a truly seamless travel experience”, said Ricardo Vidal, British Airways’ Head of Innovation.
According to Ricardo Vidal, the combination of automation and personalised customer service will define the airport of the future. In 2019 the airline also explored artificial intelligence, driverless baggage vehicles and 3D printing to improve punctuality for customers further.
“We are very excited to partner with British Airways. The trial will pave the way for other new and interesting services we can provide to improve the customer journey as we work together to re-imagine the airport experience”, added Andrei Danescu, Founder of BotsAndUs.
BotAndUs automates customer service and operations tasks across the retail, hospitality and travel sectors with a fleet of fully autonomous robots. The EIC-funded company provide a full-stack solution of hardware, software, support and customer insights generation.
The project has received a Phase 1 and Phase 2 grant from the EIC Programme to develop the business plan and commercialization strategy of its First Assistant Robot for Retail, Hospitality, Airports and Real Estate Buildings. The total Phase 2 grant was 1.8M€.