Robots to invade Heathrow Terminal 5

December 26, 2019
Robots British Airways terminal 5
One of the robots. Image: BA

Robots will invade Heathrow Terminal 5 in 2020 but London can rest easy: UK science fiction icon Dr. Who will not be needed to battle the threat of an alien assault.

The AI-powered autonomous robots will be there to help some of the 90,000 passengers who pass through the terminal each day to navigate the airport.

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The robots from tech company BotsAndUS will perform simple tasks that will free-up human helpers to deal with more complex questions.


They are programmed to interact with passengers in multiple languages using the latest translation technology to answer thousands of questions such as queries on real-time flight information.

Geo-location technology and dozens of advanced sensors that monitor through 360-degrees also allow the robots to move freely and safely around the airport terminal.

This will allow them to escort customers to specific locations such as Terminal 5’s dedicated special assistance and family check-in zones.

British Airways’ Terminal 5  joins a  number of airports globally deploying robot helpers and is part of a wider push by the airline to investigate artificial intelligence in areas such as driverless baggage carts.

Watch the robot in action.

In this case, the robots will complement the airline’s Firs Contact Resolution Programme, which gives customer service agents wider latitude to solve customer queries using a set of specialized iPad apps.

“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,’’ said BA head of innovation Ricardo Vidal.

“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.”

BA also installed 80 automated check-in machines and  80 advanced bag-drop machines at Terminal 5 last year and rolled out self-boarding technology at international gates as part of a £6.5 billion customer investment.