November 25, 2020

A robotic assistant serving & engaging passengers

The international airport of Athens (AIA) is the biggest airport in Greece. It is also the busiest, as it serves more than 1 million passengers per month. AIA recently acquired two Pepper humanoid robots in order to provide flight and other useful information to its visitors and improve their overall experience at the airport. The two Peppers became extremely popular to the passengers and visitors, winning over especially the youngest among them.

The appeal that the Peppers have and the growing need to transition to a digital era of customer service played a key role in the decision of AIA to customize and update the Peppers’ software. The vision was to make robots more interactive by engaging passengers and visitors in more interesting human-like dialogues and by providing answers to unscripted questions about AIA operation and services.


The solution
The solution

How Ahedd Helped in This Case – The Solution

The role of ahedd

ahedd is a Digital Innovation Hub for the creation of a digital innovation ecosystem. In each business case, ahedd identifies the need of the client and conducts a business analysis. Then this need is matched to the technological competences of one or more partners of its ecosystem. Working as a united entity, the client is provided with a single point-of-contact to build trust and facilitate all communication.

The solution

In this case, ahedd matched the business need of AIA to the technological excellence of the Software and Knowledge Engineering Lab (SKEL) of NCSR Demokritos, which leads cutting-edge research in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and especially natural language generation (NLG) and processing (NLP).

ahedd and SKEL investigated the whole process and involved managers and end-users in the analysis to determine that the solution would be effective and tailored to the specific needs. Then, they proposed to the client a new dialogue system for the Pepper robots with the integration of AI components.

SKEL developed a new AI-enabled dialogue system, supporting the English and Greek languages. The new dialogues provide a more friendly and humanlike feeling to the users, by providing smart replies and a sense of humor. Furthermore, the new dialogue system answers spontaneous questions related to real-time flight and weather information, as it is connected to the airport’s flight information server and to a weather server.

Other areas of application

Such a smart dialogue system can improve customer experience in many domains, especially as digital services are becoming an essential part of most businesses. This system can be integrated into every type of digital assistants, such as customer support chatbots, information points, tourist guides, even futuristic robot servants.

What people said

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The airports are turning into digital/smart cities and in this environment, technology plays an extremely significant role. In AIA we consider the technology as a value creation source for the airport, our partners and for the passengers, therefore we invested in a solution that is not only innovative, but also beneficial for the “airport city”. With the cooperation of NCSR Demokritos, we expect that Pepper, our robot, will have an enhanced role in its everyday interaction with the friends and visitors of the airport!

A. Ziomas, Director of IT&T Systems, AIA
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