Passenger Service Robot: Flight Attendants are trained in assisting each and every passenger to make their air travel smooth and comfortable. Yet many times we witness the cabin crew getting troubled by the people walking to and fro in the aisle. This may hinder the cabin crew in efficiently distributing the food and drinks among the passengers. It also becomes a huge pain for the flight attendants to walk up and down the aisles asking every single passenger about their required food items and then getting it in a bulky food cart to deliver each item that was requested for. Moreover, the food cart is sometimes troublesome for passengers who are in a rush to visit the washroom.
Boeing has invented a solution to this problem which eliminates the need for Flight Attendants. Boeing has filed a patent for a robotic system; Passenger Service Robot; that moves in the aisles to deliver food items to the passengers. The Passenger Service Robot may not be as pretty or caring as the Flight Attendants, but it seems to get the job done very efficiently.
How it works?
According to the patent application, the robotic system, when deployed in the Airplane, will simplify the whole process of taking orders and requests from passengers and supplying them with the required items. So a passenger will first select an item through the in-flight entertainment system located on the passenger seat or via a wirelessly connected personal electronic device, such as a tablet or a smartphone. The selected item could be a food item or a drink, a book, an electronic item like a pair of headphones or a tablet. Further, the selected item may be free or chargeable.
Once the order is placed, the order information is sent to an automated distribution system. The order information includes details of the selected item along with the location of the passenger. First, the automated distribution system will check whether or the selected item is available. The next step would be to locate an autonomous Passenger Service Robot which is closest to the passenger who has placed the order. After this calculation, the Passenger Service Robots will automatically navigate along with the selected item to the passenger’s seat.
Key feature of the Passenger Service Robot
To ease the navigation in the airplane, the robot will make use of the sensors present in its body. For example, if it detects a passenger standing in the way then it will issue audio-visual warnings.
If the passenger does not give way, then the robot will retract its wheels and rest on the floor to let the passenger step over itself. The top of the Passenger Service Robots may include steps that allow the passengers to easily cross over the robot.
This ensures much faster and smooth delivery of items at the passengers’ seats. The robotic system replacing the in-flight attendants makes requesting and delivering items and services seamless and much faster.
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Publication Number: US20190314993
Patent Title: Airplane Passenger Service Robot
Publication date: 2019-10-17
Filing date: 2018-04-13
Inventors: Matthew W. Orr
Assignee: The Boeing Company