Jun 8, 2018,  by Allianz Partners Business Insights

Tokyo: RoBoHoN the mini-robot to guide tourists around the city

Sharp has designed RoBoHoN, a mini-robot created to guide visitors around the streets of Tokyo (Japan). The connected device responds to vocal commands and provides tourist information and suggestions to its users in three languages. The machine can be hired at one of the capital’s airports and also features traditional smartphone functionalities.

A little android by the name of RoBoHoN is set to help tourists discover Tokyo (Japan) and avoid any feeling of being "Lost in Translation". The robot has been designed by engineers at Sharp and been available for hire at Haneda Airport since 25 April for people to use as a tourist guide. It enables visitors to stay connected but also to get a greater insight into the city and ensure that they do not miss out on any interesting sites as they explore Tokyo.

Tourist suggestions using geo-tracking

Artificial intelligence and a Cloud connection full of specific data mean that RoBoHoN is never stuck for an answer when it comes to questions of a general nature that its users might ask of it via voice command in Japanese, Mandarin and English, French website Tom Travel reports. When the mini-robot gets near to an interesting location in Tokyo – of which it has around 30 in its memory – the facts begin to flow.  

A US journalist used the robot for a week to give it a test-run. "When it approached the Roppongi zone, it suggested going to the Maman Spider sculpture nearby to take an 'artistic photo'," said CNBC reporter Uptin Saiidi. "When I walked in the vicinity of Tokyo station, it began to talk about recent renovations made there."

Connected yet not that expensive

For their creation to have the information it needs on the various locations and be able to successfully detect them, the specialists at Sharp have called on Wi-Fi router manufacturers Vision. To get the background information, they have also worked with Fubright, an editor of apps specialising in tourist packages.

As with any mobile connected device, RoBoHoN provides its users with a 4G connexion, a touch screen and a GPS tracking system. It can be used to read e-mails, take souvenir photos and make phone calls. Usage costs the equivalent of 12 euros a day, with possible reductions for longer hire periods. And included in the price, the Japanese robot will even dance a little routine on command.



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