Vai – a virtual assistant

At Auckland Airport, MPI is trialling artificial intelligence. Find out about Vai – our digital employee – and how she can help you.


Photo of VAI
Meet Vai – MPI's virtual assistant

About the trial

Vai (short for Virtual Assistant Interface) is our digital employee. She can see, hear, and talk with passengers. More importantly, she can answer questions about biosecurity and arriving at the airport. For example, she can tell you what type of items must be declared on the passenger arrival card. Or where to dispose of items in the amnesty bins.

Vai can also:

  • help you get ready for our biosecurity checkpoint
  • give simple directions around the airport and customs information.

How Vai works

A sophisticated set of artificial intelligence technologies powers Vai. When you ask Vai a question, a series of systems work super-fast to give you a natural conversation.

Before Vai answers you, your voice is converted into text. This text is processed by her artificial intelligence database – a natural language processor and conversational system. The database determines what she can and cannot answer. This evolves over time. That’s why you might find she can answer more questions the next time you talk to her.

Vai's life-like appearance is no small feat. Creating a digital human is a very challenging task. The technologies are similar, and often the same, as those used by the gaming and movie industry. FaceMe, the company that created Vai together with MPI, is constantly researching and experimenting with things like personality, emotion, and appearance.

The development of Vai is proudly supported by Westpac's Innovation Fund.

We record Vai's conversations

To help improve Vai and how she helps passengers, we're recording her conversations. These recordings help us improve Vai, such as making sure she can answer more of your questions.

Vai records the conversations she has with passengers using her camera and microphone. We only record audio and video of the conversation – we don't collect any other information that can identify you.

These recordings will be stored securely only for the trial. If you want us to delete your talk with Vai, email support@faceme.com

Include in your email the date, the approximate time of your conversation, and your description (or supply a photo).  We'll then delete your recording.

Give us feedback

If you have any questions or want to let us know about your experience with Vai, email info@mpi.govt.nz

We'd love to hear from you.

Find out more

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