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KATE the kiosk walks to a rapturous reception in Japan

Published on  07 February by Sumesh Patel , SITA President, Asia Pacific
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Japan has always been a forerunner in robotic innovations and intelligent technology, and everyone is very enthusiastic about new developments. We knew that, of course, but we were still surprised by the rapturous reception KATE got.

Let me explain. KATE is our intelligent check-in kiosk that can autonomously move to busy areas in the airport as needed. It uses artificial intelligence based on various data sources, including flight and passenger flow information, to identify where additional check-in kiosks are required.

The result is a significant reduction in passenger queue times at check-in.

Kansai International Airport is running a trial of KATE in Terminal 1, with a long list of airlines taking part: Air France, Air China, Cathay Pacific Airways, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, KLM, All Nippon Airways, Asiana Airlines and United Airlines.

And as you can see by the pictures, KATE was given the treatment you’d normally expect for an international footballer.

I hope this cameraman wasn’t expecting an interview.

KATE uses the terminal’s Wi-Fi, so doesn’t need any cabling, and is equipped with collision avoidance technology so it can move around the check-in hall without bumping into people. And when its battery is getting low, it automatically returns to its docking station. The kiosk can also communicate with other kiosks, through the Cloud, to ensure the right number of kiosks are in the right place at the right time.

As passenger numbers increase but airports stay the same size – particularly if, like Kansai, they are on an island – this type of technology could well be the best way for airports to make sure more passengers do not lead to long wait times.

We look forward to the results of the trial.

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