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Team of Robots Scheduled to Begin Airport Invasion This September

Robot cleaners and porters are being introduced at the Tokyo city airport as part of a wider strategy by the Japanese government.

When Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for a “robot revolution” earlier this year, the response from Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND) was swift. Japan Airport Terminal (JAT), which manages operations across all of the country’s airports, announced last week that it will introduce 11 robots programmed to assist with cleaning and transporting luggage at HND this September.

The robots’ introduction is part of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between JAT and Japan-based robot developer Cyberdyne. While Cyberdyne’s robots will carry out some menial tasks, some of HND’s human employees will be equipped with Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL) machines. These powered suits – also developed by Cyberdene – will enable staff to assist passengers struggling with cumbersome loads.

Cyberdyne Robot at HND (photo:  bloomberg)

At present, it has been agreed that Cyberdyne will supply HND with five cleaning robots, three luggage carrying robots and three HAL machines on a trial basis. Depending on the results of the trial, these numbers may be increased.

JAT says these technologies were developed to meet the demographic challenges that face modern Japan – namely, those presented by a plummeting birth rate, an ageing population and a decrease in the working population. JAT is also working with Cyberdyne to develop robots that can be used for security and serve as users, which will help tourists navigate the airport.

Cyberdyne Robots at HND (photo:  bloomberg)

Bloomberg reports JAT President Isao Takashiro, in a joint statement with Cyberdyne, said he not only wants to expand this technology across Japan, but also hopes that it may one day become commonplace in airports around the globe.

While the technology soon to be rolled out at the airport seems novel, it is part of a much wider scheme. According to Japan Times, the use of robot porters, cleaners and the HAL suits at HND are all part of the Japanese government’s refreshed Japan Revitalization Strategy, which lists robot research and development as one of its main areas of focus.

[Photos: Bloomberg]

Comments are Closed.
aristotled July 15, 2015

fine and good, but the bots will never take the place of humans in certain aspects of the sanitary market. too complicated. they've promised this for decades and this is as far as they've got. sad and insignificant and will remain so.