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Technology makes festival travel safer and convenient

XINHUA | Updated: 2023-01-18 07:26
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JINAN — For rail travelers awaiting departure, it is common to have a meal in a restaurant at the station.

The intelligent restaurant at Jinan Railway Station in Shandong province brings a brand-new twist on this experience for travelers.

Unlike traditional restaurants, the Gaotiexia intelligent restaurant has no human servers or chefs but is operated entirely by robotic equipment.

"We have six automatic cooking devices. Each dish takes only five minutes from being ordered to being delivered at the table," says Ren Guotao, who is in charge of the restaurant.

The devices are able to cook 18 different dishes for customers, including stir-fried shrimp with cashew nuts, braised chicken with mushroom, and the traditional Sichuan dish, spicy Mapo Tofu.

The restaurant is also equipped with a smart machine serving coffee, soy milk and ice cream. Everything is ready minutes after customers scan the code and pay.

"For travelers in a rush, the cooking machine can also make a bowl of delicious beef noodles in 48 seconds," says Ren, adding that the restaurant offers a smart, faster and more sanitary choice for diners.

The Spring Festival travel rush, also known as chunyun, began on Jan 7 and will last until Feb 15, during which many people will travel to reunite with their families for the Chinese Lunar New Year, which falls on Sunday this year.

According to an official news conference, the number of passenger trips during this year's Spring Festival travel rush is expected to surge 99.5 percent from the same period last year to reach nearly 2.1 billion.

To ensure that travelers have a pleasant and safe journey, many technologies have been put into use in railway stations, airports, and expressway service areas across the country.

Shandong province's Jinan Yaoqiang International Airport has launched an information platform for luggage, which allows passengers to check their luggage status after checking in.

For security purposes, passengers are sometimes asked to open their luggage to be inspected. "We used to listen for the broadcast or keep watching the screen all the time, so that we would know if our luggage needed to be inspected again," says Sun Lin, a passenger. "Now we can just check the luggage information via the phone. That's very considerate, and we won't miss the deadline for boarding."

Drivers passing the Taian-Zaozhuang Section of the Beijing-Taipei Expressway may have noticed many boxes hanging on high poles en route.

"These boxes can transmit traffic information to cars and instruct drivers in real time," says Li Tao, deputy manager of the traffic engineering department of Shandong high-speed construction management group.

Li says that more than 180 high-definition video surveillance cameras and about 300 sets of radars have also been installed along the section to collect traffic information. Thanks to the technologies, accidents along the section have been reduced significantly.

"This year's Spring Festival travel rush will see an obvious increase in travelers compared to the previous two years," says Ma Minshu, an associate professor at Beijing Jiaotong University. "Therefore, transport authorities in China have been improving their services and promoting technologies, such as online ticket purchasing, electronic tickets, and facial check-in, to guarantee people's safety and make trips easier during this period."


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