Travelers can finally say goodbye to carrying all their bulging suitcases at the airport while they are struggling to find their gates.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has just introduced its friendly luggage trolley prototype, thanks to robotics. Named Care-E, the self-driving robot is equipped with artificial intelligence and autonomous technology.
People who want to experience the new automated trolley don't have to wait that long. The airline will be conducting two-day tests in both SFO and JFK this August. Although the self-driving trolley is operated by the Dutch airline, travelers won't need to speak Dutch, or any other language, just to use it.
According to KLM, the robot can carry up to an impressive 85 pounds of baggage. It will also travel alongside its customer, at about 3 miles per hour, which is the average human walking pace. Because of Care-E's AI technology, it will be able to access real-time data.
Example, if a traveler's gate has been changed, the robots can redirect the luggage owner properly.
This is not KLM's first venture to tech in travel. The airline already operates an android known as Spencer in Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, its home base. Unlike Care-E, Spender did not carry bags.
Spencer was developed for two years before it was unveiled to the public. Its main job is to guide air travelers through airport terminals. Additionally, it can recognize emotional cues, respond to unexpected situations, consider group behavior, and put those information to use to give guidance.
Spencer is helpful for passengers who have to walk to their connecting gate immediately upon arrival at the airport.
Technology In KLM
According to Vice President Customer Innovation and Care, Michel Pozas, robotics is considered as a vital development that the airline wants to test.
In a statement in 2016, KLM Chief Operating Officer René de Groot predicted that robotics will play an increasingly essential role in aviation in the coming years. He also said that even then, they have been actively assessing how the technology can be incorporated to their services.
The developments made by the airline are always in line with its objectives regarding innovation, which is one of the cornerstones of its strategy. The main goal of robotics in KLM is to offer both the staff and customers an improved support by using innovative technology.
Before doing a full nationwide rollout of the Care-E, KLM intends to see how the machine interacts with passengers during the trial, and apply modifications based on the findings.