Bill me baby: Heathrow T5’s new robot

Following the introduction of robotic assistants at major airports such as Munich and Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, Terminal Five at Heathrow is getting its own troupe of automated, sci-fi helpers in 2020.

Dubbed ‘Bill’, the new robots are the brainchild of tech company BotsAndUs and have been designed to help handle common, everyday enquiries from T5’s daily intake of 90,0000 customers so that the customer service team can focus on more complex situations.

“I envisage a fleet of robots working side-by-side with our people”

Using inbuilt geo-location technology and a host of other advanced sensors to constantly monitor a 360˚radius, ‘Bill’ will move around the airport terminal freely and safely, escorting customers to specific locations such as the airline’s dedicated Special Assistance and Family Check-In zones.

Ricardo Vidal, British Airways’ head of innovation, says the combination of automation and personalised customer service will define the airport of the future:

“We are always looking for new and innovative ways to use automation to help our customers enjoy a faster and smoother journey through the airport and beyond. These smart robots are the latest innovation allowing us to free up our people to deal with immediate issues and offer that one-on-one service we know our customers appreciate. In the future, I envisage a fleet of robots working side-by-side with our people offering a truly seamless travel experience.”

Andrei Danescu, founder of BotsAndUs, added: “We are very excited to partner with British Airways. The trial will pave the way for other new and interesting services we can provide to improve the customer journey as we work together to re-imagine the airport experience.”

According to the airline, 2019 saw BA install 80 brand-new automated check-in machines and 80 advanced automated bag-drop machines at Heathrow Terminal 5 which resulted in an increase in customer satisfaction and a dramatic reduction in queues.

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