EVA Adds Interactive Robot to Taiwan Ground Staff “Pepper” assists passengers at Taoyuan, Songshan airports
EVA Air injected technology and fun into its ground services at Taipei’s close-in Songshan International Airport on 7 Dec. and at the larger Taoyuan International Airport on 8 Dec., 2016. The peppy interactive robot named Pepper scans boarding passes to provide departure details, gives passengers weather updates for their destinations and informs them of duty-free specials and EVA promotions. Pepper also plays games, shakes hands, dances and poses with passengers.
EVA programmed Pepper to provide passenger services and has deployed two of the robots. One welcomes passengers in front of the international check-in counter at Songshan while the other has become a delightful greeter in the VIP lounge reception area at Taoyuan, stationed between the exclusive Infinity and Star retreats. Passengers interact with the accommodating robot by using a touch screen and through its eyes.
Pepper understands and responds in Chinese for now and EVA will add English and Japanese language capabilities by the end of March 2017. While the airline does not plan to use the robot at other gateways, it will be adding more functions.
Pepper is the result of combined technologies. It has 20 flexible joints and 27 sensors. It is approximately 48 in. (121 cm) tall and weighs 64 lbs. (29 kg). In addition to EVA’s passenger service functions, the robot is also being used by a bank and local government. Japanese tech company Softbank Corp. developed Pepper and Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. manufactures it.