Information robot starts at Václav Havel Airport

The robot can answer basic questions and interact with passengers

A robot will now help passengers with basic information at Václav Havel Airport Prague.

Airport operating firm Prague Airport and financial service firm Mastercard have introduced the first robot, named Master Pepper, into service in the secure area of Terminal 2.

The robot project is part of the airport’s ongoing technological development. It will be available to passengers daily from 7 am to 10 pm. The Prague Airport and Mastercard joint project is the result of a long-term partnership between both companies and draws on Mastercard's international experience with this robot.

Master Pepper can interact with travelers in English or Czech. The robot understands and answers spoken questions in the English language. Through a touch tablet that is part of the robot's hardware it can also respond in Czech. Master Pepper also simulates authentic movements that make it fun for passengers when they are waiting for a flight. It functions not only as a source of information, but also as a means of entertainment.

“Prague Airport has long-term development plans. In their creation and realization, we are looking toward the more distant future so that all the gradually emerging projects have the potential to function efficiently within a decade,” Václav Řehoř, chairman of the board of directors of Prague Airport, said in a press release.

“That is why we also follow modern technological trends, so we can we evaluate them and then implement them into operation. The technological development of the airport is directed to five areas: future security, future mobility, convenient airport travel, virtual shopping, and customer experience. The robot Master Pepper is an example of the airport’s technological development in customer experience,” he added.

Mastercard considers itself to be a global innovative technology company. “We run the fastest payment processing network, which is also important for air travel. And just like Master Pepper, we bring people a unique experience — in our case, our payment card offers for Priceless Specials and Priceless Cities. Mastercard introduced the first commercial application for Master Pepper as early as 2016 in Asia,” said Miroslav Lukeš, CEO for Mastercard in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria.

To realize the airport’s technological development, Prague Airport has launched the PRGAirportLab initiative to monitor and analyze trends in new technologies in airport development and air travel, and to implement selected projects. Examples of such technologies include biometrics, virtual reality, smart parking, virtual taxi, holograms, and robots.

Master Pepper is located in Terminal 2's section D. It directs passengers to the nearest information counter, to the children's area, or to a specific departure gate. Passengers can ask it to dance and take a selfie with it. It also provides information about Prague Airport and Mastercard services.

Master Pepper was made by French company Aldebaran in cooperation with the Japanese company SoftBank Robotics. It is 120 centimeters tall, weighs 28 kilos and can last up to 12 hours after a charge.

Master Pepper has several devices that ensure its functionality, including movement and voice interaction. The head has four microphones, three cameras and a 3D depth reader. There is a gyroscope in his hull. The touch sensors are located on the head and hand. There are two sonar, six lasers, three bumper sensors and another gyroscope at the bottom of the body.

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