Prague Airport’s latest staff member? Pepper the robot
A new “employee” of Prague’s Václav Havel Airport called Pepper is now roaming Terminal 2 and offering both directions and entertainment. He is the result of the airport’s ongoing adoption of new technologies through its PRGAirportLab initiative and can be seen as offering a taster of what is yet to come.
More importantly perhaps, he is the world’s first social humanoid robot able to recognize faces and basic human emotions, at least according to his creator, Japanese conglomerate SoftBank.
The company has sold around 12,000 multifunctional Pepper model robots since introducing him at a conference in 2014. The airport’s spokesman, Roman Pacvoň, explained how the robot can be helpful.
He is still a relatively early form of robot assistant, offering a touchscreen for any passenger to use in case he does not understand them. However, Pepper’s introduction into Prague’s international airport serves as a taster for the future technological innovations to come, Mr. Pacvoň said.
“The idea is a part of long-term development plans of the airport which are to be implemented in the upcoming years. Within these plans we are also looking at the distant future, which means that all future projects should have the potential to work efficiently even after several decades.
“Now, for example, we are testing electric vehicles, car-sharing systems, technologies improving the check-in process, as well as security.”
Pepper is one of many robots being implemented in various industries in the Czech Republic. In September Hospodářské Noviny reported about a farm which is run entirely by artificial intelligence, while the CEO of Czech food delivery service Rohlik.cz was recently quoted by IT business server connect.cz as saying that his company will be using robots for food deliveries from 2019.