Robots with artificial intelligence able to accompany us are already among us. Look at Pepper and NAO Next Gen below as two examples you can buy, even if not any place in the world and a bit expensive. They are commercially available is my point. So what if they got on a bus, or a plane? What will they be charged for fares? I’ve got a simple proposal!
A robot should be charged a transportation fare
if it would take up space like another adult passenger,
or a luggage fee if treated like luggage,
and big or heavy enough to incur luggage fees.
Yes, it can be that simple! And fair!
Unlike kids, you can’t use age as a determinant for charging fares. But age is just an indicator of size, anyway. Size is what matters here. It’s not practical to have a scale and/or height gauge to measure every kid who gets on mass transit, though, so a general age limit had to be set for kids. Fair or not to small and big kids relative to the average of that age, it’s practical for transit purposes where you can check a kid’s age, if really needed. It’s a rough guide and some on the honour system how it works with kids and transit fares.
With scale and/or height gauge impractical to have on transit systems, having a fare policy for robots on either would not be practical, either. If they were small enough not to prevent another passenger from being able to ride when the transit vehicle is loaded to the max, then they’re not going to be heavy enough to impact the vehicle’s load to any extent. It’d be impractical for them to move if they were, given the space criteria would mean they’d be toddler size, at most, like NAO Next Gen above at 23″ or 59 cm, who could be carried in your lap. Pepper would be charged a fare, though.
On airplanes, where the airlines can practically measure and weigh your luggage to determine if it were carry-on, or regular check-in and not excessive, the robots should be treated like luggage for fares only if it were not taking up a seat. Unlike kids who can’t (and shouldn’t be!) kept in carry-on luggage for the flight, robots might be able to if you didn’t worry about damage. In such a case, the robots would be no different than anything else anyone might bring in their luggage, so why treat them differently?
Yes, it can be that simple! And fair! Thoughts?