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November 29, 2015

Netherlands’ Schiphol Airport to test EU-funded new Spencer robot

Netherlands Schiphol Airport is set to trial a new robot, named Spencer, developed to help passengers find their way around the airport.

By Ranjith Dharma

Robot

Netherlands Schiphol Airport is set to trial a new robot, named Spencer, developed to help passengers find their way around the airport.

Spencer is an EU-funded research project on robotics, which includes a consortium of six university partners and two industrial partners from five European countries.

Adjustments will be made in preparation for the real test in March 2016, after the test run, which will start today at the international airport, reported AlphaGalileo.

Örebro University researchers have installed the robot with maps that help in navigation, allowing it to survey surroundings by measuring the distance to various obstructions using laser beams.

"The robot can understand human behaviour and communicate in several languages."

Örebro University computer Science professor Achim Lilienthal said that they are working on a general map representation that includes and allows the robot to handle temporarily permanent objects.

Lilienthal was quoted as saying: "Navigating an airport is challenging, there is a lot of glass and a constantly changing environment in terms of temporary obstructions, such as parked luggage trolleys and people everywhere."

All the components aiding the robot’s ability will be incorporated into one system in the upcoming integration week.

The robot can understand human behaviour and respond accordingly, as well as communicate in several languages.

The human-robot interaction technology can also be used in many other scenarios such as museums or as the face and voice for autonomous trucks.

Lilienthal added: "The airport has recently been remodelled and is now so much easier to find your way around."


Image: Newly developed Spencer robot at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. Photo: courtesy of European Commission.

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