This Airline Is Developing Traveling Robots so You Can Fly Across the World — or Home for Thanksgiving — Without Getting on a Plane
Whether it's a fear of flying, difficulty due to a disability, or just bad timing, there can be so many roadblocks for people looking for an amazing getaway or a trip back home for the holidays.
Cue Japanese airline All Nippon Airways (ANA HD) who has solved the issue with their unveiling of plans for a “telepresence robot,” called Newme, that allows you to travel around the world without boarding a plane.
“Our vision of a better-connected planet will rely on the latest innovations in haptic robotics, VR/AR and AI to transform the way that humans interact," said Shinya Katanozaka, president and CEO of ANA HD, in a statement. "By placing the world at your fingertips, Avatars will open up new possibilities and help reshape everything from business and education to healthcare and entertainment.”
Lonely Planet, details that Newme is about 5 feet tall and has a tablet attached to the top. The robot wheels around your destination, interacts with people, and pretty much does your traveling for you — all thanks to a remote control you can use from the comfort of your couch.
Of course, for many travelers, this can be seen as a drawback, since they’re technically not traveling and can achieve a similar experience with a quick YouTube search. However, Newme amps up the virtual sight-seeing experience with customizable body accessories and a VR headset.
It is primarily intended for people with mobility challenges, disabilities, or any circumstance that would make traveling difficult, but introverts or those who are out of vacations days are welcome to give it a try.
Newme is not yet offered on the ANA website but the company plans to debut 1,000 robots by summer 2020.