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These three robotic ladies are your friendly airport guides

Mineta San José International Airport makes history as the first U.S. airport to utilize robotic assistants.

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Navigating a busy airport can be difficult, but travelers at San Jose International Airport are getting a little help from some friendly bots.

NAT: “Hello welcome to SJC airport.”

Meet Amelia. Named after famed aviation pioneer, Amelia Earhart, she is one of three customer service robots stationed at the airport since October.

SOT:“…these robots are here to assist customers in finding shopping and dining opportunities as other services, but also to surprise and delight travelers as they are traveling through here and have a little time to spend with them.” – Barnes

Travelers can interact with Amelia in 6 languages using the 32-inch touch screen tablet she holds in her hands. They can access information about dining, shopping, ATM and bathroom locations, as well as get step by step directions to different destinations. But Amelia is not all work and no play.

SOT: “We hear from our customers that one of the most fun features of the robot is that they can take a selfie and either have the selfie displayed on the robot’s face or email it to themselves.” – Barnes

Amelia’s talents also include dancing, though her moves are a bit limited by the geo-fenced mat to which she’s restricted.

The $120,000 project represents the first time such robots have been deployed at a U.S. airport, which is fitting considering San Jose’s location.

SOT: “It’s very important for Silicon Valley’s airport to offer services for our travelers that are iconic to our region, iconic to Silicon Valley, we want to create a sense of place.” – Barnes

Not surprisingly, it was a company born in Silicon Valley that developed the software used by the robotic trio. Based in San Jose, 22Miles has partnered with the airport in the past to develop a 70-inch, 4K screen directory for one of its terminals. But, this request was unlike any other.

SOT: “They came to us with this device, meaning a robot, which was to use very cool, so we were excited about that. And they said, can you make it work? Can you bring life to it? And that’s what we did.” – Towner

And looking at Amelia, her wide brown eyes and changing facial expressions do look quite lifelike, but as with any technology there’s always room for improvement.

SOT: “The manufacturers are going to replace the robot with the new generation. And that will improve the hardware, like the touchscreen sensibility and a lot of firmware upgrades make them more stable… We are implementing a scanner in some other airports as well. When you walk up to a system, you scan your ticket and it {the bot} will tell you where you’re going. And also we can recommend on the way, what you can do as well.” - Zhao

In the future, 22Miles hopes to get the robots to a point where they can escort passengers around the airport and allow for verbal communication. As for now, I’m content with having a mini dance party with Amelia. At least until her battery runs out.

For IDG News Service, I'm Magdalena Petrova from San Jose.