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Fukuoka: Robot Guide Helps Passengers at Tenjin Station

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A robot guide helps passengers at Tenjin Station

FUKUOKA — Nishi-Nippon Railroad Co. started using a robot guide, named “temi,” on a trial basis in the concourse of Nishitetsu Fukuoka (Tenjin) Station in Fukuoka City last month.

The one-meter-tall temi is equipped with a 10-inch LCD screen. The robot can answer 36 pre-defined questions. When a user operates the robot’s touchscreen to search for information, such as fares and transfers, answers are displayed on the screen.

When asked where lockers and restrooms are located, temi guides customers to the destination, moving at a speed of up to one meter per second. In addition to Japanese, the robot can respond to questions in English, Chinese and Korean in anticipation of the needs of foreign tourists.

On the day of the robot’s debut on Dec. 15, curious foreign tourists were operating temi. “It’s convenient,” said a female tourist from Taiwan. “It’s also interesting to see [a robot] being used to help tourists.”

The station had a daily average of 109,000 passengers in fiscal 2022. The railroad operator plans to continue the experiment through Jan. 12 to see whether it will help improve the operating efficiency of the station.

“We’ll closely examine the outcome and consider whether to introduce temi [permanently],” said a company official.