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Exploring new smarts

With artificial intelligence expected to take off in the world, we’re excited to explore how it can help us provide an even better service for our travellers. What have we looked into so far?


Meet our roving robots 

Over the next few years we’re trialing a range of disruptive technologies, from AI to robotics projects, across various areas of our business.

In 2019 we began trialing our first humanoid robot, Pepper. Pepper robots are created by SoftBank Robotics to make people’s lives easier, more connected and more extraordinary. This initiative was done in collaboration with the University of Canterbury and proved to be a huge success.

In fact, our first Pepper was such a hit that we’ve since expanded our robot population to four! We now have two sets of twins – two named Pepper and two named NAO. They live in our Digital Innovation Zone but their favourite place to be is out interacting with visitors. Their ‘minder’ often takes them for a walk in the terminal to chat with people, answer questions, pose for photos (they’re always up for a selfie)… and dance!

One of our Pepper robots has a very special job – helping people who are on their way to managed isolation and quarantine (MiQ). Pepper welcomes the arriving passengers, explains why they’re not in the public part of the terminal and talks them through their transit process. To keep everyone safe, that Pepper robot works only in the MiQ area.

Thanks to a school programme we are getting ideas from young minds on what else our robots can do to help passengers. Children from neighbouring Harewood School found the robots were great at answering questions and giving directions – although their top recommendation is to “get the robots to dance!”.

Look out for our robots in the terminal or come see them in our Digital Innovation Zone on the first floor.

Check out the video below and read our media release to learn more.

Introducing

Pepper the humanoid robot

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Future of Digital Travel Challenge 

Collaboration and sharing new ideas is how innovation happens, and it's something our Digital Innovation Zone is designed to promote.

In March 2019, we hosted the Future of Digital Travel Challenge with the University of Canterbury Centre for Entrepreneurship (UCE). Over two fast-paced days, teams of students were asked to look 15 years into the future and explore solutions to airport challenges. Robotic retailers, travelling by virtual reality and pilotless planes were just some of their solutions for integrating digital disruption and emerging technologies into the future of travel.  

Guided by experts and mentored by Christchurch Airport staff, the students took away new skills including teamwork, critical analysis, quick thinking and presentations – and we tapped into insightful ideas from our future travellers.

Check out the video below and read our media release to learn more.

Future of Digital Travel Challenge

Tapping into our brightest young minds

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