Travel Tech News, Feb 2018: Robots Aren’t Taking Our Jobs Just Yet

By Dave Dean NewsNo Comments

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Bose is making a noise-canceling car, in-flight messaging apps are a bad place to make bomb threats, Norwegian is rolling out free Wi-Fi on its long-haul routes, and it turns out robots aren’t taking our jobs quite yet, at least not in the hotel industry.

It’s Travel Tech News time once more.

As It Turns Out, Robots Don’t Make Good Hotel Workers After All

Clean hotel room

In not entirely surprising news, a high-tech Japanese hotel that pioneered the use of robot staff has realised they’re not much good. The Henn-na “Strange” Hotel has decommissioned half of its nearly 250 non-human staff members after they apparently created more problems than they could solve.

In-room assistant robots were flummoxed by simple questions. Velociraptor robots at check-in weren’t able to scan passports like they were supposed to. Luggage carriers didn’t work in bad weather, couldn’t get to most of the rooms, and often got stuck when passing each other.  And on it goes.

With many of the robots nearing the end of their lifecycle, the company decided it’d be cheaper and more effective to replace them with humans instead of new robots.

Travel technology is great. Except when it isn’t.

No, In-Flight Messaging Systems Are Not the Place for Bomb Jokes

Air New Zealand plane

An Australian teenager who “thought it was funny” to make a bomb threat on an in-flight messaging system wasn’t laughing shortly afterward

Meke Fifita wrote “I have a bomb” into the Air New Zealand app while his plane was taxiing out for takeoff in Auckland — at which point airline staff announced a security incident, turned the plane around, and headed straight back to the gate.

Fifita was arrested, charged, and later deported from New Zealand after paying $3000 AUD in reparations. His lawyer described his actions as the “grossly stupid event of the century.” 

We can only agree.

Not Content With Headphones, Bose is Making a Noise-Canceling Car

Bose has long been known as one of the best makers of noise-canceling headphones, and the company is now looking to expand its technology into the humble automobile

As cars, especially electric ones, get lighter and quieter, road noise starts getting much more noticeable. Dubbed “QuietComfort,” Bose’s approach will measure both vibrations and sound to create an acoustic cancelation signal, which is then broadcast through the car speakers to cut out the noise.

The system will automatically adapt for things like the aging of the vehicle and type of road surface being traveled over, and Bose suggests we could see new cars outfitted with the technology as early as 2021. How well it works — and whether the company actually hits that ambitious goal — remains to be seen.

Norwegian Is Rolling Out Free Wi-Fi on All Long-Haul Flights

Taking photo on phone from plane

Norwegian Air has made its name offering low-cost, no-frills flights throughout Europe and to several other parts of the world.

The airline has had some negative publicity in recent months suggesting it’s struggling with cashflow, but that hasn’t stopped it announcing a feature that’ll be welcomed by most tech-obsessed travelers. 

Norwegian has offered free Wi-Fi on European flights for several years, and recently announced the expansion of the offering across all of its long-haul flights as well. Starting with its Boeing Dreamliner 787 and 737 MAX fleet, the company expects half of its 787’s to have the capability by next year.

You’ll get speeds appropriate for basic email, web browsing, and messaging for free. If you want faster speeds for streaming video or similar, you can pay an (introductory) price of $14.95 per three hours.

Images via 3888952 (robot), davidlee770924 (clean hotel room), Holgi (Air New Zealand plane), and Skitterphoto (taking photo from plane). Video via Bose/Youtube.

About the Author
Dave Dean

Dave Dean

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Founder and editor of Too Many Adapters, Dave has been a traveler for 20 years, and a geek for even longer. When he's not playing with the latest tech toy or working out how to keep his phone charged for just a few more minutes, he can probably be found sitting in a broken-down bus in some obscure corner of the planet.

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