KLM’s new airport robot Care-E will guide you to the gate
Question: Why do celebrities always look so cool and put-together in airports when the rest of us are exhausted and puffy-faced?
Answer: They have personal assistants who haul their stuff and make traveling seamless.
And now, you can have an airport travel assistant of your very own thanks to KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, the Dutch national carrier.
Care-E, a bright-blue “self-driving trolley,” is being tested by the airline and will be rolled out at New York’s JFK and San Francisco International (SFO) airports sometime in 2018.
Though Care-E is the product of a Dutch airline, you won’t need to speak Dutch — or English, for that matter — to operate the robot.
According to KLM, Care-E uses “a variety of familiar nonverbal sounds” to interact with travelers. To get started, Care-E will scan your boarding pass.
From there, according to KLM, the robot can carry up to 85 pounds of luggage and travel alongside you at about 3 mph (the average human walking pace).
Thanks to AI technology, Care-E will be able to access real-time data. For example, it’ll know if your gate changes and be able to redirect you accordingly.
However, this isn’t the first time that a robot or robot-esque machine made an appearance in an airport. Seoul’s Incheon and New York’s LaGuardia have experimented with robot guides, to varying levels of success.
And KLM also isn’t a stranger to tech in travel, either.
The airline previously experimented with an android named Spencer at its home base, Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. Unlike Care-E, Spencer did not have a way to carry bags.
Unfortunately, though, there are still things that airport robots can’t do, such as make you coffee or get that dude to stop talking on his cell phone at full volume while people are trying to listen for boarding information.