ANA HOLDINGS to test its “newme” Avatar Robot

ANA HOLDINGS to test its “newme” Avatar Robot

ANA HOLDINGS INC. (hereinafter “ANA HD”) will partner with Mitsubishi Estate Co., Ltd. to test its newme Avatar platform at the JNTO TIC (Japan National Tourism Organization Tourist Information Center) in the heart of Tokyo. The JNTO TIC regularly receives tourists from all over the world, and the newme robots will make it possible for JNTO TIC staff to communicate and answer questions from a remote location. Testing will take place from Feb. 26-28, 2020.

“The goal of ANA’s avatar initiative is to eliminate the barriers of physical distance to make remote communication more valuable and to allow everyone to share experiences more democratically,” said Kevin Kajitani, Co-Director of ANA HD’s Avatar Division. “By harnessing the connective potential of robotic avatars, we aim to make Tokyo more accessible to tourists. These tests will be an important step in deploying this promising technology at scale in the real world. We are excited to partner with Mitsubishi Estate to make this test possible.”

By allowing JNTO TIC staff to communicate with tourists from a remote location, the newme robots will make it possible to keep the information center open for longer hours and even on days when logistical challenges (such as train delays or adverse weather) make it difficult for staff to be present on-site. The upcoming tests will determine how best to employ the newme platform to achieve these goals.

The newme robots will be tested alongside LS Mini technology developed by Live Smart, a company Mitsubishi Estate has invested in. This technology allows for the automation of basic home tasks, even those that once required a physical presence to perform. Results from these tests will reveal the degree to which basic service-oriented tasks can be automated and the degree to which real-world avatars can increase the efficiency of JNTO TIC’s operations.

ANA HD will continue looking for ways to employ its innovative technology to increase connectivity and decrease barriers to limitless communication and shared experiences.

About ANA

Following the “Inspiration of Japan” high quality of service, ANA has been awarded the respected 5-Star rating every year since 2013 from SKYTRAX. ANA is the only Japanese airline to win this prestigious designation seven years in a row. Additionally, ANA has been recognized by Air Transport World as “Airline of the Year” three times in the past 10 years – 2007, 2013 and 2018, becoming one of the few airlines winning this prestigious award for multiple times.

ANA was founded in 1952 with two helicopters and has become the largest airline in Japan, as well as one of the most significant airlines in Asia, operating 78 international routes and 118 domestic routes. ANA offers a unique dual hub model which enables passengers to travel to Tokyo and connect through the two airports in the metropolitan Tokyo, NARITA and HANEDA, to various destinations throughout Japan, and also offers same day connections between various North American, Asian and Chinese cities.

ANA has been a member of Star Alliance since 1999 and has joint venture partnerships with United Airlines, Lufthansa German Airlines, Swiss International Airlines and Austrian Airlines.

In addition to the full service and award-winning record of ANA, the ANA Group’s subsidiary Peach Aviation Limited is the leading LCC in Japan, and has expanded following the integration of Vanilla Air Inc. in late 2019. The ANA Group carried 54.4 million passengers in FY2018, has approximately 43,000 employees and a fleet of 260 aircraft. ANA is a proud launch customer and the biggest operator of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

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