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Robots Ready to Take Over the Planet? No, Just the Airport

Ready or not, Vistara Airlines’ robot assistant, RADA, is ready hit the ground at the Delhi airport.

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Camera and Video Editing: Cyrus John

It’s almost everyday that we read headlines about advancements in robotics and AI (artificial intelligence) as everyone is trying to slip it into their products — be it smartphones or something even as simple as household appliances such as wash machines or microwaves.

And now, here’s Vistara Airlines, which is looking to deploy its very own robot assistant (dubbed RADA) at its airport lounge in Delhi to assist passengers with flight details and other information.

To see what the machine can do, The Quint went over to take a look at RADA before it hits the ground.

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The company was very clear in saying that this is an experiment and not final product. The aim of this project is to provide customers waiting at the lounge with constant updates about their flights, entertain them with videos and games, and also interact with them if necessary.

The process of making RADA has been a cost effective one, said the airline. Apart from a few cameras, motion and obstacle sensors, and sheets of aluminium, there isn’t much to this machine.

The robot’s central console consists of a bar code scanner (used to scan boarding passes) and also a touchscreen tablet which passengers can use to interact with the robot.

RADA also supports voice commands, although its responses are limited. The company says that all the data of the interaction is being collected by the machine for analysis, but nothing is being stored by the company. GDPR rules!

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For movement, RADA is at the mercy of four wheels and a sensor that tracks a particular path that has been laid down. It cannot go beyond that path which helps the people at Vistara keep a check on where the machine is going.

The robot will be deployed at the Delhi airport starting 5 July. The company hasn’t confirmed whether it will release an upgrade of RADA or not.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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