Can Robots Make Things More Convenient for Travelers at Train Stations in Japan?

  • INNOVATION
  • CULTURE
  • Robot technology is nothing new in Japan and there are many different types of robots that are used by several companies in order to survive. The Japanese society is highly supported by these technological advancements. In order to move towards a more technologically advanced future, JR East (East Japan Railway) is actually going to operate its train network with the help of the planned JRE Robotics Station. The station will be deploying guidance robots, self-handling robots, cleaning robots, and security robots that will assist in the company’s daily operations.

    Robot Technology in Japan

    Japan is a country obsessed with robots, and they are the world’s leading manufacturers as well as consumers of robots. Some robots have been built to provide useful services and products to people, some of them are for entertainment, while others for companionship. There is a wide variety of robots in Japan such as dancing robots, stair-climbing robots, driving robots, and many more! The largest robot fair is also held in Tokyo where humanoid and manufacturing robots of several organizations and companies are featured.

    Traditional robots are very easy to program and they can immediately carry specific tasks assigned to them. The new generation of robots is capable of taking several roles at home, in school, and even in the society. It is believed that the more sophisticated robots are, the more they are able to assist people in the future. However, some issues regarding the use of robots are being raised e.g. that it fosters human disconnection.

    JRE Robotics Station

    It is about time for JR East to operate their train network with the use of robots. This will be made possible through the JRE Robotics Station, which is a new company set up by JR East. The station will be responsible for deploying four kinds of robots:

    1. Guidance robot – responsible for providing travelers with direction information, can also assist travelers who are lost
    2. Self-piloting robot – responsible for assisting disabled people, can carry pieces of luggage in case travelers need help
    3. Cleaning robot – responsible for tidying up things (With lots of people coming in and out of the station, it can get easily messy.)
    4. Security robot – responsible for detecting shoplifters, will also enable the station to have peace and order

    It is not clear yet when these robots will start popping out from the station but it will probably be at the soonest time possible.

    It is said that JR East will not only deploy these robots in the station but will also use them at the hotels and shopping centers they are associated with. They will also be seen in other JR East properties and will be equipped with a multilingual function so they are able to assist foreign travelers. Robot technology is indeed getting bigger in Japan, and the JRE Robotics Station is just one of the many projects the Japanese have in mind.

    JRE Robotics Station Website *Japanese only