Auckland Airport Testing AI Avatar Service

“New Zealand’s Auckland Airport is testing the use of an onscreen avatar to answer biosecurity questions from travellers in a bid to reduce the workload of airport officials,” writes Aaron Tan in an article for Computer Weekly.

“Dubbed Virtual Assistant Interface (Vai), the artificial intelligence (AI) powered avatar offers answers to common questions such as what food items need to be declared for inspection, as well as directions around the airport.”

The idea is for Vai to take some of the load off MPI officers during peak times by assisting staff with answering queries. This is about using technology to allow officers to focus on their important role of keeping pests and diseases out of New Zealand,” said MPI detection technology manager Brett Hickman.

“MPI is always looking for innovative ways, including emerging technologies, to improve the customer experience for arriving passengers and to increase their biosecurity awareness,” he added.

Vai, which was “developed by New Zealand-based AI specialist FaceMe and backed by Westpac’s Innovation Fund” is highly conversational and has been trained on a database of queries and answers that is constantly updated”. “It also uses biometrics to learn human interactions and will respond accordingly to ease the customer’s experience, according to FaceMe,” according to the article.

Article Source:, Aaron Tan, March 8, 2018

Image Source: Twitter-FaceMe

Tags: AI  Auckland Airport  Computer Weekly  Vai  

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