British Airways just announced that it plans to test AI-powered robots at London Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5. The airline is planning to use artificial intelligence to help flyers get through the airport faster. If successful, British Airways may use AI-powered robots at many other airports in the near future.
Starting early in January, the airline will use two robots to help guide travelers through the terminal. By using robots, airline staff will be able to concentrate on helping guests with more complex and pressing problems. The robots will be able to interact in a variety of languages and answer a host of different questions, while also offering real-time flight information.
The robots will also boast geo-location technology and advanced sensors, and they will be able to scoot across the airport and take passengers to different locations such as the airline's Special Assistance and Family Check-In zones.
The AI-powered robot is called Bill, as an ode to Lt E H "Bill" Lawford, who was the captain of the world's first international service by Air Transport and Travel, British Airways' predecessor, which on August 25, 1919, flew from Middlesex to Paris.
British Airways is using technology to improve the customer experience and is looking to use automation to improve efficiency. In the future, the airline hopes to use a fleet of robots that work side-by-side with its employees. This year, at London Heathrow's Terminal 5, the airline installed 80 automated check-in machines as well as 80 automated bag-drop machines.
British Airways has also invested heavily in the use of biometric technology at boarding gates, which has helped minimize boarding delays. Even though the the airline has been investing billions to improve the experience for customers on different fronts, it was recently voted as one of the worst airlines in the world by travelers.