Remote guide service using avatars at Hakodate Airport

The verification experiment being carried out using an avatar on a screen at Hakodate Airport. Maps and the like can also be displayed on the screen.

Hokkaido Airports Co., Ltd. (Chitose) and Hakodate Airport Terminal Building Co., Ltd. (Hakodate) have begun a verification experiment of a ‘remote guidance service’ at the General Information Desk on the first floor of the Domestic Passenger Terminal Building of Hakodate Airport, where staff members answer users’ questions via an avatar (animated character) on the screen. The experiment, the first of its kind in Hokkaido, was conducted until December 8.

A 21 ½ monitor with camera was installed at the Hakodate Airport Information Desk. When a user touches the screen to call for assistance, a person on stand-by in the office responds remotely. The avatar on the screen can actually change its expressions in response to the blinking eyes or the words of the person responding, and guide maps and other information can be displayed on the screen in response to the user’s requests.

During the Coronavirus pandemic, those on the information desk have been carrying out their duties wearing a mask behind an acrylic panel, but the avatar can display facial expressions that may be hidden by the mask, so the companies believed it would be possible to provide information in a ‘non-face-to-face, contactless’ way. It is also possible to call users in front of the information desk, from the office, and the desk will be unmanned during the experiment period.

With this system, it is also possible to work from home, which will lead to a change in the working style of the staff, who mainly work standing up. According to the person responsible for the system, “We would like to identify issues, such as user response and use of operation, and consider introducing the system in future.

Location

Hakodate Airport

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