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NTU develops robots for customs services: NIA

Source: Taiwantrade | Updated: 15 April 2011

The National Immigrations Agency (NIA) was yesterday presented with “Monica,” “LuoGuide” and “LuoHead,” three artificial intelligence robots created by the National Taiwan University Department of Electrical Engineering (NTUEE), headed by professor Lo Ren-chuan.

Lo, who has studied abroad in Germany, said he has never seen a country use a robot to “man” customs at airports, adding that the department's spearheading of such creations greatly excited him.

Lo described Monica as an autonomous mobile robot that is sensitive to temperature, can save and recall images, greet passengers or customers and take people on guided tours. Monica can also differentiate sudden changes and alert its users with instant messages.

LuoGuide can take orders in various languages and perform menial office or lab tasks such as mailing documents or finding a book in a library. LuoHead's head was modeled after a 27-year-old Einstein; Lo said there are 36 motors inside his head that help him imitate human expressions of joy, anger and sadness.

NIA Director Hsieh Li-kung said he was in awe of the robots. Currently, the NIA is testing out an automatic immigration clearance system at Kinmen's Shuitou Port that allows passenger entry after scanning them for less than 15 seconds. The system is slated to come into effect at Terminal 1 of Taoyuan International Airport, Taipei Songshan Airport and Koahsiung International Airport in May.

Hsieh said the convenience of the automatic system could very well be combined with the friendly, cartoonish face of a robot in the near future.

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