Sharp Corp.'s RoBoHon, a small humanoid robot with artificial intelligence features, will accompany tourists in taxis in Kyoto and offer sightseeing guidance in Japanese, Chinese and English from Sept. 22, the service providers said Tuesday.
Sharp, Kyoto-based taxi operator MK Co. and travel agency JTB Corp. said they have teamed up to provide the tourism package until March 31 next year to meet the growing demand for sightseeing using taxis amid the increasing number of travelers to Japan.
(Photo courtesy of Sharp Corp.)
In the package, which will be on sale from next Monday, passengers in taxis can learn about the history and culture of the sites they are visiting from conversations with RoBoHon, a two-legged robot that can interact with users through AI besides having basic mobile phone functions such as voice service and camera.
Customers can also take the robot out of taxis with them to tourist spots to use as a guide. For the tourism package, however, the robot's mobile phone and email functions cannot be used.
It will cost 6,000 yen ($53) per person if two or three passengers share one RoBoHon and 7,000 yen if one passenger uses the robot for a six-hour tour.
The tour will start from an MK rendezvous point in front of JR Kyoto Station and its destinations will include Kiyomizu temple, Nanzen-ji temple and Shogunzuka Seiryu-den, a wooden hall located on top of a mountain where visitors can get a panoramic view over Kyoto.
Sharp has been exploring the use of the robot phone, which is about 19.5 centimeters tall and weighs 390 grams, for corporate use and tourism purposes since its launch in May 2016.