MIAMI — Last weekend, Munich Airport and Lufthansa started testing a humanoid robot equipped with artificial intelligence that will welcome travelers around the world to the non-public area of the Terminal 2, jointly operated by the airport and the carrier. This is the first-ever test of a humanoid robot at a German airport.
The Robot’s name is Josie Pepper. She is 120 centimeters tall, with sparkling round eyes and a pleasant voice. She will be answering questions for passengers in Terminal 2. Whether they need directions to their gate or want to stop at a certain restaurant or shop, Josie Pepper will look them in the eyes and give them an immediate answer.
In her initial deployment, Josie Pepper—who speaks fluent English—will await passengers at the top of the ramp leading to the shuttle that connects the main terminal to the satellite building. This test phase will be used to show whether Josie Pepper is accepted by passengers.
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According to the Munich Airport, Josie Pepper’s “brain” features a high-performance processor with a WLAN internet access, thereby creating a connection to a cloud service where speech is processed, interpreted and linked to the airport data.
Likewise, with its capacity to learn, it answers each question individually. The system gets steadily better at combining questions with the relevant information to answer more precisely, just like a “real” brain.
IBM Watson Internet of Things (IoT) cloud-based, artificial intelligence technologies are behind Josie Pepper’s skills. Josie Pepper was developed by the French company SoftBank Robotics. The lady robot was given the name “Josie” by the staff of Munich Airport and Lufthansa when she arrived at the airport.
As of 2016, Munich Airport was the seventh-busiest airport in Europe, handling over 42 million passengers.
Currently, it is the second-busiest airport in Germany in terms of passenger traffic behind Frankfurt Airport and features flights to 248 destinations around the world.