The Concept

Atasha is a robot flight assistant designed to interact with aircraft passengers on short regional routes. Hooked to the cabin’s ceiling, the lightweight robot could easily reach the various luggage compartments, slide across the alley, and use state-of-the-art AI to attend to passengers’ needs. 

The Background

Most of us (including me) would prefer to interact with a human flight attendant, but for some very short flights, an articulate robot could be used. How would it be shaped and what would it be able to do? Would passengers accept this on short trips? These are the ideas we are exploring with this concept. 

How It Works

Using strong hydraulic joints, the articulated hands could lift heavy carry-ons and store them in the overhead compartment. Even though the arms would have to be made of a stronger alloy, the rest of the body could be made of plastic and be as lightweight as possible. Since it’s very likely the passengers will sleep during the flight, the robot would have to cause the least amount of disturbance possible when moving around (see what Boston Dynamics accomplished in the latest version of the Atlas Robot).

The main function of Atasha would be to directly assist the passengers, but she also has to control the service trolleys remotely. When a passenger is requesting food or drinks, the trolley, driven by a quiet electric motor, would respond to Atasha’s signals and roll up next to her. Since Atasha is hanging from the ceiling, she won’t risk crashing into the trolley and can easily access its content. Even though they can’t bump into each other, they would both have to make sure no human or luggage is hindering their movement.

Atasha’s “face” would have an integrated OLED screen designed to display simple emotions and communicate with people using a soothing synthetic voice. Of course, Atasha would always remain polite and friendly. Various sensors could be used to detect a particular human behaviour and read the “mood” of the situation. Atasha would tend to a situation by going through voice analysis, facial recognition, heartbeat analysis, and other metrics.

What It’s Used For

Automating passengers’ help means that the aircraft personnel can entirely focus on flying the plane. Atasha could also be used to clean up the seating and pick up trash in the alley at the end of the flight. If equipped with additional sensors and chemical detectors, Atasha could be used to prevent hazards and deal with flight emergencies.

The Designer

I would like to thank Martin Rico for creating the images of the Atasha concept. Martin lives near Buenos Aires, Argentina. He studied Design at the University of Buenos Aires and now works as a Freelance Industrial Designer. Martin also designed the Fünambul people mover and the Horus flying superbike.