JAL and NRI Commence ‘Service Robot’ Demonstrative Trials with the Aim of Improving Airport Customer Service

Tokyo February 08, 2016: Japan Airlines Co. Ltd. (JAL) and Nomura Research Institute, Ltd. (NRI), a leading provider of consulting and system solutions, today announced the two companies are performing joint demonstrative trials of a service robot*1 intended to improve customer service from February 09 to February 18, 2016*2.

The demonstrative trials are taking place in front of the JAL information counter and security check point C in the South Wing of Terminal 1 at Haneda Airport. The service robot is linked to a digital information screen at the JAL information counter and through interactive dialogue, the robot is able to present airport facility information, arrival and departure flight information, destination weather and local information etc.

In addition, the cooperation between the service robot and the JAL airport staff is also being evaluated. JAL airport staff using smart watch technology are able to communicate with the service robot to assist with passenger service announcements such as conveying the closing-time information of a security check point used for passenger departure. Staff using these watches can send instructions to the service robot and the service robot can in turn send notifications to the staff’s smart watches.

Additionally, the ability of the service robot to provide information in multiple languages (English/Chinese) is also being evaluated, in order to provide assistance for overseas visitors to Japan.

These demonstrative trials are being conducted with the experiences and skills of the “NRI Mirai (Future) Garage”*3 project, with the aim of creating new value-added services by the efforts of JAL and NRI.

NRI is responsible for the development of the robots operating system. This trial will assist NRI to assess the practicality of the robots user interface, in addition to studying new techniques for various sensor and system interfaces. NRI has worked closely with French company Aldebaran [NAO Robot] to refine the robots movement and develop the language ability.

JAL Managing Executive Officer Kiyoshi Ishizeki said: “Through these demonstrative trials, we intend to measure the benefits surrounding the use of robot technology at the airport and also understand the differences between using a robot and conventional digital signage.”

“The possibility to offer assistance to airport staff is being examined on these trials,” said Takahiro Abe, Executive Officer of JAL. “We are striving to provide customers with new and innovative products and services under the banner ‘Embrace new Challenges JAL’.”

“NRI takes part in this demonstrative trial as an activity of the "NRI Mirai (Future) Garage" project.” Said Hiroshi Masutani, Senior Managing Director of NRI. “We will continue to work with multiple corporate partners, taking on new challenges in order to support the creation of innovative products and useful services.”


*1 Service robot is different from the industrial robot. Service robot can be used in office or home. Examples are cleaning robot, police robot and delivery robot.

*2 Demonstrative trials are scheduled to be carried out in six days on Feb. 9~11, and Feb.16~18, 2016.

*3 NRI launched “NRI Mirai Garage” initiative with the aim of creating innovative services in partnership with the participating companies. NRI Mirai Garage is running workshops for generating ideas, technical studies, trial production and joint operation tests, in order to generate ideas that a single company cannot dream up alone by combining the needs and expertise of participating companies with NRI’s consulting, research results and systems development technology. At the same time, the aim is to turn these ideas into reality rather than leaving them on paper.

Media Inquiries:

Hiro Matsumoto / Yasuo Togawa
Corporate Communications Department,
Nomura Research Institute, Ltd.
Tel: +81-3-6270-8100
E-mail: kouhou@nri.co.jp

Business Inquiries:

Toshihiro Kouda
Digital Business Innovation Department
Nomura Research Institute, Ltd.
Tel: +81-3-6706-0362
E-mail: t-kouda@nri.co.jp

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