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Travel Technology News – Spencer – The Robot to Guide You at Airport

Worried about missing your flight again at the last moment? You have panicked if you were late and realized that your flight would depart in few minutes. Now onwards you are not alone. Amsterdam’s Schiphol International airport has introduced Spencer, the robot to accompany the passengers to their gates.

Dutch airline KLM were the creative thinkers behind this latest add-on to the history of the airline industry. The carrier realized that a lot of money was lost due to the reason that many new passengers lost their way at the airport. On 30 November 2015, Spencer made its debut for a weeklong trial. According to the, Sweden’s Orebro University, KLM, and researchers from five different nations collaborated to create Spencer, funded by the European Commission. Airline industry is seeing this as a next-gen development.

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How does Spencer help?

Spencer has the humanoid appearance to make it approachable and friendly to the passengers. Initially, it will roll out throughout the floor of the Schiphol International Airport. With “eyes” and giving directions on its information screen, Spencer guides the passenger like anyone at the helpdesk does.

Spencer made its one week of trial and plans to launch it in March 2016. Before the official launch, the company marks for certain adjustments in Spencer.

How could Spencer move swiftly at the airport?

The smooth and easy movement of the robot is the great challenge faced by The project leader for Spencer from Phys. Org, Achim Lilienthal says “Navigating an airport is challenging, there is a lot of glass and a constantly changing environment in terms of temporary obstructions, such as parked luggage trolleys and people everywhere. It is surprisingly difficult to fit all the pieces together. A small error somewhere along the line may take an unpredictably long time to discover and work out.”

To address these challenges, the robot relies on the program maps of the airport to protect itself from hitting fixed objects like walls and glass doors. It makes use of laser beams to avoid this kind of obstructions on its way.

The ability of the Spencer to react to the human behavior is the major challenge according to It has to make out whether to navigate around the people or to move squeezing the crowd. Also, it should be capable enough to check if the person it guides is keeping the pacing with it.

Impact of Spencer in the Travel Industry

The influence of Robots in the travel technology industry has turned up to be very interesting in the last year. Some of the other featured updates were reported too.  Royal Caribbean International’s Anthem of the Seas features a robot mixologist, a Japanese hotel staffed almost entirely by robots and Aloft Hotels, which is a Starwood brand has been experimenting with robot butlers are some of them.

Hotels and excursions are the top grosser for holiday companies and tour operators.

With a survey done recently on travel software companies in USA, India, Europe and Asia, hotel booking software with GDS connectivity, is the fastest growing category. Top hotel APIs like Amadeus, GTA, expedia, hotelbeds and DOTW are giving access to top hotel inventory in niche geographies. Hotel aggregators are setting up top hotel booking software to sell unsold inventories of hotels at the last minutes.  


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