Alistrati Cave in Greece has a new addition to its team of tour guides - but this one is a bit different. Persephone, a robot guide, has just joined her human counterparts showing visitors around this impressive complex of limestone caves.
Named after the daughter of the Greek god Zeus, she speaks 33 languages and guides visitors through the first section of the cave on an accessible walkway.
Nikolaos Kartalis, the Scientific Director of the Alistrati site, had the idea of creating the robot when he saw a similar one on TV guiding visitors around a gallery.
“It can guide in three different languages at the same time and is capable of answering visitors' questions,” he explains.
How does the robot work?
The robot was built by the National Technology and Research Foundation, 17 years after Kartalis first came up with the idea. It cost the scientific director a total of 118,000 euros to add this new member to his team.
The multilingual machine uses artificial intelligence to guide visitors through the first 150 metres of the cave before handing them over to a human for the remaining 750 metres.
Persephone guides visitors through the first part of the Alistrati caveAP
Although she can speak to visitors in 33 languages, for now Persephone’s ability to answer questions is limited to a selection of 33 pre-programmed questions and responses in Greek.
Evdokia Karafera, one of the tour guides partnered with the robot, says she isn’t too worried about her job just yet.
"[Most of the visitors say] The robot is an interesting prototype, but it can't replace the human contact that they have with the human guide."