Robots are coming to the rescue in Tokyo's subways.
Facing an influx of visitors for the 2020 Olympics – as well as an aging population and low birth rate – the Tokyo Metropolitan Government is enlisting ARISA, a 6-foot guide robot that will work in the subway stations to show straphangers the way to restrooms and lockers, offer transit directions and recommend tourist attractions, according to U.S. News and World Report.
The news outlet reported the bot, which was developed by the Japanese tech company Aruze Gaming and Chicago-headquartered THK, is wide-eyed, sharply dressed, can speak in Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean, has a touch-screen monitor – and is good with taking selfies.
For now, the subway humanoid is on test runs in various subway stops in Tokyo. How it does will help determine whether it will be used in the future to enhance urban operations across the metro area, the news outlet reported.
Tokyo resident Kyosuke Tanaka, 25, gave the bot a thumbs up.
"The ARISA robot is a next generation robot that responds more smoothly and quickly than I imagined," he told the news outlet. "The user interface is especially great."