Prague Airport and Mastercard have together put into operation the first robot in the Czech airport's service. The robot, with nickname Master Pepper, is located in Terminal 2 beyond the security checkpoint, and will entertain passengers and provide them with basic information and a unique experience. The robot project is just part of the technological development of Václav Havel Airport Prague focused on enhancing customer experience. It will be available to passengers daily from 7 am to 10 pm. The Prague Airport and Mastercard project is the result of a long-term partnership between both companies and draws on Mastercard's experience abroad with this robot.
Passengers can interact with Master Pepper in English or Czech. The robot understands and answers questions posed to it in English; using the touch tablet, which is part of the robot's hardware, it answers and reacts in Czech. Master Pepper has also good command of natural movements, through which it entertains passengers and provides them a unique experience while they are waiting for their flight. Through its functionalities, it not only gives information, but also provides fun and entertainment.
“Prague Airport has long-term development plans. Through their creation and implementation, we are looking at the distant future, so that all future projects have the potential to function efficiently and harmoniously, even after several decades. For this reason, we are closely monitoring emerging trends in modern technologies, which we evaluate and subsequently put into operation. The technological development of the airport is focused on five distinct areas. These are future security, future mobility, seamless passenger travel, virtual shopping and customer experience. Master Pepper is an example of the technological development of the airport in the area of customer experience,” says Václav Řehoř, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Prague Airport.
“We have much in common. We are a global innovative technology company, just like Master Pepper's manufacturer, and we operate the fastest payment processing network, which is also important for air travel. And just like Master Pepper, we provide people with a unique experience – in our case, it is our Priceless Specials and Priceless Cities payment card programs. Mastercard introduced the first commercial application for Master Pepper in 2016 in Asia,” said Miroslav Lukeš, CEO for the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria.
In order to facilitate and advance its technological development, Prague Airport launched the PRGAirportLab initiative, which aims to monitor emerging trends in new technologies with regard to the airport’s development, to analyze their use in air transport and to implement selected projects. Examples of such technologies include biometrics, virtual reality, smart parking, virtual taxi, holograms and robots.
Master Pepper is located in Terminal 2, Concourse D. It can direct passengers to the nearest information counter, children's play area or specific departure gate. It will dance for passengers upon request and eagerly take a selfie with them. At the same time, it will provide information about Prague Airport or Mastercard's services.
Pepper was manufactured by SoftBank Robotics. It is 120 centimeters tall, weighs 28 kilograms and can operate for up to 12 hours on a full charge. The robot's on-site safety will be provided by information staff present throughout Prague Airport.
Pepper interacts in several ways, including movement and voice functions. It has four microphones, three cameras and a 3D depth reader on its head. There is a gyroscope in its core. Touch sensors are located on the robot's head and hands. In the lower part of its body, there are two sonars, six lasers, three touch sensors and another gyroscope.