Robots are taking their first steps to welcoming passengers, handling baggage, driving shuttles and carrying out airfield inspections
“When you go to the airport in 2025, there probably won’t be any people serving you. There will be robots instead”Frank Lin, WSP
In the future, technology will underpin every aspect of the passenger experience.
Tailored information will be pushed to smartphones, from the best route through the airport to the least crowded seating areas, as well as offers from retailers, restaurants and bars. This will have profound implications for wayfinding — and for the giant banks of signage that dominate airport interiors. Why would we need signs when everything we need to know is on our phone, and we can simply touch any wall for an instant, personalized update?
The airport workforce will be much smaller, and concentrated in customer-facing roles. Robots are already taking their first tentative steps to welcome passengers, answer their questions, escort them to, and clean up after them. Fitted with touchscreens, cameras and rapidly improving algorithms — and speaking multiple languages — they will take your drinks order at Oakland Airport, or dance for you in San Jose. At Geneva, Leo the bag-drop robot will print your tag and take your suitcase at the taxi drop-off. Robots do more than schmoozing. At Incheon, a cleaning robot with cameras, light sensors and bumpers learns which areas need vacuuming most frequently. Shenzhen’s Bao’an security “Anbot” takes pictures of passengers and sends them for analysis, and is fitted with a taser.