Next time you visit Bengaluru Kempegowda International Airport, do not be surprised if you find a robot checking your boarding passes or taking care of your baggage. You are still in India but a modern, high tech India. According to sources at KIA (via FactorDaily), the airport authorities are testing 10 NAO robots for helping airport staff in day to day operations.
Notably, French robotics company Aldebaran Robotics, the company behind the famous Pepper robot, has developed NAO robot as well. Japanese conglomerate Softbank had acquired Aldebaran for $100 million in 2013.
NAO was the first humanoid robot by the company launched way back in 2006 before it came up with Pepper and Romeo. NAO is a family of programmable, autonomous humanoid robots . The NAO robot is currently in its 5th iteration and is around 58 cm or 2ft. in height and is fully equipped with modern sensors.
These include ultrasonic sensors, tactile sensors, infrared sensors, a Gyro, force sensors, an accelerometer along with four microphones , HD cameras, and high accuracy digital encoders. The robot runs on a Linux-based operating system called NAOqi.
It is reportedly a highly customizable, interactive, and endearing robot. You can easily personalize it according to different environments and conditions. As per the website,
“Everyone can construct his own experience with specific applications based on his own imagination and needs.”
The company has so far sold about 10,000 NAOs all over the world. Various sectors like entertainment, education, travel, hospitality and sports are using these robots.
For instance, a NAO robotic clerk at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport speaks multiple languages and greets flyers who do not speak Japanese. It was earlier deployed at a Japanese retail bank called Mitsubishi Tokyo UFJ.
In India, Bengaluru Kempegowda International Airport is reportedly testing 10 NAO robots who will assist Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel in scanning baggage and boarding passes.
They will be deployed at various points inside the airport to process check-ins. The airport has not made any official announcement for the same and a spokesperson said that it was too “premature” to talk anything about it.
Reportedly, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur is also using a NAO robot. These robots cost around 10 lakhs in India.