Colleague robot helps travelers further

Deutsche Bahn brings Artificial Intelligence (AI) into customer service - Speaking robot head SEMMI used for the first time for railway customers in Germany - Additional source of information for travellers

The robot head smiles at the traveler and greets him: "Hello, I am SEMMI. What can I do for you?" Berlin's main railway station counts around 300,000 rail customers every day. Many of them are in the capital for the first time. Where are the lockers, how do you get to Alexanderplatz the fastest and where is Sushi at the station? Lady robot "SEMMI" knows her way around and promptly delivers the right answer.

"SEMMI is the clear proof of the potential of Artificial Intelligence for our customer service", says Prof. Dr. Sabina Jeschke, DB Board Member for Digitization and Technology. "With the increasing demand for rail and its networking with other means of public transport, our customers' need for information is also increasing. With new technologies we want to supplement our information offerings with additional digital services and thus relieve the burden on local staff."

Above all, the technology behind SEMMI is smart: DB has developed an artificially intelligent, cloud-based speech dialog system that can be used independently of its external appearance - whether as a chat bot in an app, as a speech assistant or as a robot. SEMMI learns by interacting with travelers and accumulates more knowledge through each day of testing. The DB development has already been tested at Frankfurt Airport and together with the Japanese railway JR East at Tokyo Central Station.

SEMMI can be found at Berlin's main railway station in the DB Travel Centre and is being used there for an initial test phase of six weeks. Connected to DB's IT information systems, SEMMI processes and answers travel-related questions and is an additional point of contact for customers. The staff at the counters thus have more time for intensive advice on tickets, travel planning and specific individual needs. In addition, waiting times can be reduced in this way, especially at peak times.

SEMMI stands for "Socio-Emphatic Human-Machine Interaction". In addition to travel information, SEMMI can also provide small talk. It automatically recognizes and answers questions in German and English. If required, she can also speak other languages such as French, Polish, Spanish and Italian. AI speech systems such as those found in SEMMI are particularly powerful even in the event of major disruptions, for example after storms. DB is therefore increasingly relying on new technologies to provide its customers with "real-time" advice and support in these cases as well.