Brain Waves: travel’s latest innovations including driverless buses in Taipei

Taipei tests self-driving bus

A self-driving bus was tested on the streets of Taipei earlier this month. From 1-5 August, a battery-powered EZ10 driverless vehicle was put through its paces along a designated bus lane on Xinyi Road. The bus can carry a maximum of 12 passengers, reach speeds of up to 40kph and operate for 14 hours on a single charge. The tests however, were limited to a top speed of 20kph.

First Australian hotel gets keyless entry

Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley has become the first Australian hotel to allow guests to unlock their rooms using their mobile phones. The mobile keys are digitally generated by hotel staff and, once created, guests can access use the hotel’s app and scan their smartphone in front of the door to access the room. The hotel said it would ease check-in queues and reduce plastic use.

Heathrow serves destination-based G&T bags

Heathrow Airport has teamed up with the Chase Distillery create a series of “G&T Bags”, which infuse flavour into a gin & tonic. The new G&T Bags are said to be inspired by the airport’s top 10 destinations, including a USA-flavoured bag with red berries, hibiscus and apple, a rose and jasmine flavour for Sweden, and an Indian version with lemon, orange, black pepper and cardamom.

Austrian Airlines offers advanced IFE planning

Austrian Airlines has launched a new service that allows passengers to plan their in-flight entertainment. The carrier has adopted Spafax’s entertainment personalisation platform, which provides programme listings and in-depth information about what entertainment will be available on each flight. This follows the recent roll-out of IFE on Austrian’s short- and medium-haul flights.

Boeing invests in virtual reality

Boeing has invested in C360 Technologies, a company focusing on augmented and virtual reality. The Pittsburgh-based company already uses its 360-degree video solutions in major sporting events, and Boeing HorizonX – the company’s innovation arm – said it plans to harness C360’s technology to drive the development of autonomous systems and other high-tech transport solutions.

Finnish airports offer Chinese interpreters

Finnish airport operator Finavia is piloting a virtual interpretation service for Chinese and Russian travellers. Visitors to the airports in Helsinki and Rovaniemi will now be able to get advice and information in their own language via tablet devices set up at different customer service areas, including taxi ranks and car rental outlets. The pilot will continue until the end of 2017.

Japan launches app for Taiwanese visitors

A new app is providing local information to Taiwanese travellers. Created by Navitime, the “Japan Travel” app displays travel information, including trains, buses and walking routes, searches Wi-Fi spots offline, and offers travel articles using traditional Chinese characters. This follows the launch of Navitime’s English language Japanese travel app in 2013.

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