Mineta San Jose International (SJC) is transforming how Silicon Valley travels with the unveiling today of #SJCRobots, the airport’s new customer service agents.
Named Norma, Amelia, and Piper, they are the first robots to be deployed at a U.S. airport, and are engaging and entertaining travelers while assisting them with locating dining, shopping, and other services.
“Our #SJCRobots offer travelers who are arriving and departing through Silicon Valley’s airport with an iconic experience reflecting our region’s unique culture of innovation,” said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. “This is also another example of how we’re partnering with the private sector through our Smart City Vision to demonstrate new technologies that can help shape the way we live, work, play, and travel.”
Director of Aviation Kim Becker joined with other City and private sector representatives, including Sachin Jain, policy advisor for Mayor Liccardo’s Smart City Vision team, to introduce and demonstrate the robots’ capabilities to the SJC community.
”We are proud to be the first-to-market among U.S. airports, and to join other world-class airports in Asia, Canada, and Europe, to offer robots as we re-imagine the customer experience,” said Becker. “SJC is accomplishing its mission – to connect, serve, and inspire – with an innovative approach to customer service for our local travelers and global visitors through our successful partnership with our concessionaires, Future Robot, and 22 Miles.”
Stationed on geo-fence mats and located at Gates 11, 21 and 25, the robots are immediately engaging to travelers with their avatar-friendly faces as they audibly introduce themselves by their names: Norma, Amelia, and Piper. They assist, engage, and entertain further by:
– Offering in-terminal dining, shopping, and other Airport services information on a 32-inch touch screen tablet operating on Microsoft Windows software
– Providing a You Are Here interactive map and directory
– Displaying information in six languages – English, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish – allowing travelers to choose their preference, and
– Dancing, playing music, and taking photos that can be sent to travelers’ email accounts or displayed on the robots’ faces.
The #SJCRobots are made possible through the innovative Airport team and their partners:
– Airport concessionaires – Hudson News Group, Pacific Gateway Concessions and HMSHost, which paid for the $120,000 robot program through the concessions marketing fund – Future Robot, the robot designer and manufacturer based in South Korea, and – 22 Miles, located in Silicon Valley (City of Milpitas), which programmed the robots to engage tech-savvy SJC travelers.
Norma, Amelia, and Piper are aptly named for these aviation pioneers:
– Norman Y. Mineta, former San Jose mayor, congressman and U.S. Secretary of both Transportation and Commerce, and SJC’s namesake – Amelia M. Earhart, American author and the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, and – William T. Piper, a U.S. airplane manufacturer and founding president of the Piper Aircraft Corporation.
The robots are an addition to SJC’s customer programs and strengthen the services offered by engaging, entertaining, and assisting travelers.
SJC joins other airports across the globe, including Narita in Tokyo, Edmonton in Alberta, and Schiphol in Amsterdam, which also offer robot customer service agents in their terminals.
About Mineta San José International Airport
Mineta San José International Airport Silicon Valley’s airport, a self-supporting enterprise owned and operated by the City of San José. SJC serves more than 10 million passengers annually, with 173 peak daily departures on 14 domestic and international carriers to 40 nonstop destinations.