This article was published on
15th December, 2020
JR East is taking part of a major project to transform the Shinagawa area of Tokyo, Japan, into a completely modern transportation hub for local and international travellers. Although Shinagawa stands as a gateway for users of Shinkansen as well as Haneda International Airport, this large-scale project aims to further improve ease of access as well as transforming the surrounding area with additional commercial and private facilities.
In March this year, the opening of JR East’s Takanawa Gateway Station marked a major milestone in the renewal project. The station is situated between Tamachi and Shinagawa stations on the Yamanote Line which loops through metropolitan Tokyo, and JR East is hoping the use of advanced robots and AI technology at Takanawa Gateway station will shine a light on how new technology can be part of everyday life.
The station’s most unique selling point is its crew of advanced robots employed by JR East, giving visitors a glimpse of the future of rail travel with its cutting-edge technology and station service equipment. The AI robots were put to trial from July this year, and JR East has commented that they aim to use the robots full time from 2024.
The robots will provide travellers with train transfer information, act as security guards, carry heavy luggage, serve food, clean the station facilities and equipment as well as providing a barrier-free environment for travellers with disabilities by transporting them inside and around the station.
The cleaning robot comes equipped with sensors and three-dimensional cameras to help it avoid obstacles as it sanitizes handrails, benches and other parts of the station keeping traveller’s health and safety as a priority.
Designed by famous Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, the station has a high open ceiling over the platforms, cedar flooring throughout the station and large windows bringing in an abundance of natural light.
Within the station an unmanned AI operated convenience store “TOUCH TO GO” allows users to pick their items from the shelves and scans them automatically in seconds with the 50 cameras set up throughout the store. Payment for purchases at the store can only be made through cards with a two second tap on the reader making it the perfect quick stop before jumping on a train.
Takanawa Gateway Station stands as an innovative test ground for AI technology, and JR East is hoping to set the station as a ‘new normal’ model for future generation train stations.
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About East Japan Railway Company
The East Japan Railway Company (JR East) operates trains including the Shinkansen (high-speed bullet trains) in the East Japan region. The company is the largest passenger railway company in Japan, serving around 17 million people every day and their network covers the half of the main island of Honshu, from the Tokyo metropolis to multiple areas in Eastern Japan. Apart from the main railway business, JR East Japan also operates various other establishments such as shopping malls, retail shops, restaurants and hotels as well as managing office buildings.
For more information, please their website here.
About the JR EAST PASS
The JR EAST PASS is a special discount pass for international visitors to Japan (limited to those entering on a short term 90-day visa). Pass holders can get unlimited access to all JR East Japan Railways (Shinkansen bullet trains), affiliated railway companies and JR buses for 5 days within the period of 14 days from the date of issue of the pass. Visitors arriving into Narita or Haneda Airport can start their holidays by using the pass to head straight out to the beautiful and lesser-known Tohoku region and multiple other locations throughout Eastern Japan. We hope visitors will enjoy their trip to Japan with this great deal, the JR EAST JAPAN PASS!
For more information about the pass, please their website