Robots are friends! Or at least, at Haneda Airport if you see one of the little buddies above, you can feel confident approaching it and ask it it for help. The Hitachi EMIEW3humanoid robot begins its first proof-of-concept tests at the major international airport in Tokyo today, opening in Passenger Terminal 2 and providing helpful info to travellers in both English and Japanese.
The EMIEW3 is the third generation of Hitachi’s humanoid robot, and is designed for use in service capacities like this one. The EMIEW3 will reside at a dedicated counter during this series of proof-of-concept tests, which run today, September 2, and September 6 and 7. They can answer questions in both Japanese and English, and provided spoken guidance, as well as more information via info display systems installed next to the counter that will contain facility maps.
In this first generation of tests, the robot is basically a stationary input processor, directing your attention to the info display from behind its counter. In phase two, which is set to run between September 8 and the 14, the robot will move on its own to lead users to the display, and answer any questions in conversation with the customer. In the ambitious third phase, which happens in December, the EMIEW3 will actually lead airport users to their destination, if they happen to be looking for directions.
While the EMIEW3 is humanoid, it definitely isn’t human. Instead, it looks like some kind of adorable read and white sci-fi cat robot from the future. Which is awesome.