Can machine learning remedy these common travel problems?
IN THE TRAVEL SECTOR, many of the most popular technologies use machine learning or artificial intelligence in some capacity and trend experts predict will likely continue.
As the name suggests, machine learning uses data-driven algorithms to learn independently, whereas artificial intelligence replicates some level of human intelligence to perform a function.
Both innovations are favored for delivering a more personalized user experience in digital environments and for broadening access to information. But they have greater potential. This is something big brands in travel and technology are bringing to fruition, creating solutions that could ease or eradicate several pain points blighting travelers:
A vacation is a good opportunity to learn and use a new language. But it can also create barriers which make it difficult to understand information and conversations, and similarly to be understood by others. In such situations, many reach for their smartphone and a handy translation app. But this can be less than ideal as the apps can be cumbersome to access and apply which is no good in a hurry or on the move.
Tech giant Google has a better solution: Google Pixel Buds.
The wireless earbuds seamlessly integrate two of its AI-based platforms, Google Translate and Google Assistant. This allows the wearer to access real-time translation in 40 languages with a simple press-and-hold of the right earpiece. But that’s not all.
In the future, more than just translation could be done screen-free, hints Google Vice-President of Engineering for Travel and Shopping Oliver Heckmann in a recent interview for Web In Travel.
Finding the right hotel, flights and car hire can be a huge time suck, requiring the same information to be entered over and over while browsing.
Thankfully, travel planning website Kayak has a workaround to speed up the process. It has been using machine learning technology on its website for years, making it possible to “search hundreds of travel sites at once,” as its tagline says, through a single user interface. But as if that was not efficient enough, Kayak has also harnessed artificial intelligence to create a cross-platform chatbot to streamline the quote and book service even further.
The bot works with Facebook Messenger, Slack, and Alexa, and mimics human conversation. So rather than setting search criteria by filling-in conventional data fields as on the website, users ask questions like “how much is a flight to…” and get answers to their inquiries and a link to book.
However, Kayak is not the only company to roll-out an AI chatbot. This suggests the technology is here to stay and as it becomes more sophisticated, may even one day be capable of replacing website-based search tools altogether.
There are numerous pain points to deal with at the airport from missing luggage and flight delays, to long check-in queues. But at Dubai International Airport, security checks could be one less hassle courtesy of a new, faster system.
Described as a virtual aquarium tunnel, it uses artificial intelligence and facial recognition technology to scan passengers as they walk through
— صحيفة البيان (@AlBayanNews) October 9, 2017
“The fish is a sort of entertainment and something new for the traveler but, at the end of the day, it attracts the vision of the travelers to different corners in the tunnel for the cameras to capture his/her face print,” said Dubai residency and foreign affairs deputy director-general Major General Obaid Al Hameeri, as quoted in an article on The National website.
Once passengers reach the end, they are either cleared with a green message or flagged with a red one for security to intervene.
According to the article, the trial of the “virtual border” will begin in summer 2018, at the airport’s Emirates terminal.