Tuesday, January 4, 2022

The story of Athena, the first humanoid robot to travel on an airplane as a passenger.

Athena, the first humanoid robot to fly as a passenger on an airplane.

Athena robot

It was constructed by PhD students, who transported it to Germany to learn to walk with it yesterday. He had a ticket and a passport with him.

At Los Angeles International Airport yesterday, a humanoid robot with a head, hands, feet, and red slippers boarded a trip to Germany, becoming the first robot to travel as a paying passenger on an airline.

At the Tom Bradley International Terminal, the robot, named Athena, caused a scene as he was pushed in a wheelchair to the Lufthansa ticket counter to pick up his ticket to Frankfurt. Onlookers pointed their mobile phone cameras at him, saying, "It's a robot!" Television teams encircled him, camera flashes went off, and people shouted, "It's a robot!"

Athena was built by Sarcos, a Salt Lake City engineering and robotics company. It was purchased by the Max Planck Society in Germany, which is working with researchers at the University of Southern California to get it to perform tasks that are too dangerous for humans, such as the cleanup after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.

"We don't want them to go there as people and risk their lives," Alexander Herzog, a Max Planck doctoral student, said as he pushed Athena around the airport. "I'd like a robot to do the same things as me, like open doors and clean."

Athena can just sit and absorb the attention for the time being. Though her hands can work and her blue-colored mouth shines in a white helmet outfitted with cameras and sensors, the software to make her legs move is still in development.

A pat-down using electrical technology

Despite the fact that she purchased an economy ticket, she received preferential treatment, such as being the first in line for first-class passengers.

While Athena didn't have to go through the standard metal detector, she did have to go through a special electronic pat-down, according to airport spokeswoman Nancy Suey Castles. She explained, "AST didn't want us to say what it is."

In terms of the journey, Athena was strapped into a seat like any other passenger, though she was placed in the off position, and was escorted to her new laboratory in Germany by Herzog and Jeannette Bohg, a research scientist at the Max Planck Society.

No one from Lufthansa could be reached for comment.


Athena might have been transported in a large box like any other technological device, but Castles explained that the researchers "wanted to test how humans responded to a robot sitting in an airliner." "It's also cheaper to acquire a seat," he continued.

 

Article Author Gerluxe Image: dailymail

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