I recently had the opportunity to travel to South Korea to look over LG's work in both the AI and robotics fields, including some detailed time with its LG CLOi Airport Guide Robot. That's a design that LG has iterated on over time, and I had the chance to sit down for an interview (via a translator) with Hyungjn Choi, LG's Leader of Life support Robot Biz. That's a fancy title to say that he's in charge (in his own words) "of robot business development and product planning" at LG. Robots in industry are nothing new, but people-centric robots are a tough challenge. Mr Choi is quite clear that the first robot was the toughest. "Technically speaking, the most difficult one is the first one that you can see when you arrive (at Seoul's Incheon International Airport), the Airport guide robot.
Get ready for some friendly robots in your airport. LG made two different ones -- one is the Airport Guide Robot while the other is a Cleaning Robot. Simply feed it your boarding pass and it will tell you how to get to your gate and when your flight is going to take off. It can also respond to your voice, tell you the weather of your destination, and offer directions in one of four languages: English, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese and Korean. Oh, and there's a giant display where it shows you where to go.
We once had a dog that went berserk every time a drone was in hearing distance. Drones were rare and it was easy enough to extricate fido from the situation. Fast forward a couple years and the ubiquity of drones became a real issue as we took our furry dude on walks, to the beach, or hiking. That's just one example of the unintended and largely unforeseen inconveniences brought about by wide public adoption of new technologies. As autonomous mobile service robots march, roll, and fly into public view, we're bound to see lots of growing pangs like that.
In preparation for next year's Winter Olympics in South Korea, electronics giant LG is trialling new robots in the country's largest airport. From today, Seoul's Incheon International Airport will be home to two of LG's latest prototype bots: the Airport Guide Robot and the Airport Cleaning Robot. The bots were first unveiled at CES earlier this year, and both do exactly what their names suggest. The Guide Robot will roam the terminals, ready to provide travelers with directions and information about boarding times. It speaks four languages -- Korean, English, Chinese, and Japanese -- and users can even get it to scan their boarding pass to be escorted to their correct departure gate.