Spencer the robot will guide lost passengers through Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport next week

If you find yourself lost at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol next week, keep an eye out for this large, roving, futuristic chess piece with a touchscreen. “Spencer” will be making a one-week trial run starting Monday, November 30th, with the goal of guiding passengers from one gate to another.

Spencer’s navigation is a combination of having built-in maps for permanent structures (e.g. walls) and mapping its immediate surroundings with lasers. According to Örebro professor of computer science Achim Lilienthal, the big challenge will be teaching Spencer to handle “temporarily permanent” objects like a parked luggage cart. The trial run will also be a chance to work out how Spencer will “understand human behavior” such as navigating crowds and…

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