After two years of construction, programming and testing, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will begin testing its robot “Spencer” at Schiphol on Monday, 30 November. Every day, travellers miss their connecting flights for all sorts of reasons, including delays, restricted transfer times, losing their way, and language barriers. KLM intends to use the robot to help transfer passengers find their way from one gate to another as quickly and efficiently as possible at the busy airport.
This project, supported by the European Commission, goes well beyond they capabilities of the current generation of robots. Ultimately, Spencer should be able to recognise groups, take group behaviour into account and recognise emotions. In addition, Spencer will also proactively respond to unexpected situations.
The advent of robotics is, strategically, an important development, for which we have prepared and which we want to test. KLM is of the opinion that robotics will have a growing impact on air transport in the coming years. We are testing technology in several areas, to assess if and how robotics would augment our processes. These developments are wholly in line with KLM’s objectives with regard to innovation, as one of the cornerstones of strategy. At KLM, the chief purpose of robotics will probably be to offers staff and customers even better support, using innovative technology.
Michel Pozas, Vice President Customer Innovation & Care AFKL
Testing will take place through 4 December in the Schengen section of the airport.
For this project, KLM teamed up with SME Bluebotics, various universities (including Freiburg, Munich, Twente and Orebo), the Hogeschool Aachen, the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.
Passengers will not yet be involved in this test phase. The final demonstration is on March 2016.