Finding your way through an airport can be challenging or even stressful, with crowds of people swarming the place, confusing layouts and signs, and luggage trolleys everywhere. In a project funded by the European Commission, however, researchers from Sweden’s Orebro University and five other countries have spent two years constructing a robot that they hope would solve this problem. Named Spencer, the robot is designed to help passengers make their way around an airport and guide them to where they need to go. It is equipped with a navigation feature, external camera sensors, and laser beams to get around both fixed and temporary objects. Spencer is also designed to react to human behaviors, which enables it to ensure that its assigned group of travelers is keeping up, among others. The project was initiated by the Dutch airline KLM after examining ways to cut down on costs incurred when passengers miss their flights due to difficulty finding gates. It was unveiled in Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport on November 30 for a one-week trial, after which adjustments will be made prior to a final demonstration in March 2016.
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