Travellers can now explore far away destinations in real-time through the eyes of a robot using their smartphone or computer.

UK technology start-up Propelmee has announced the public beta-release of Challau, a first-of-its-kind robot-powered virtual travel platform.

Using Challau, travellers can choose from a range of destinations called “Portals” and decide where they want to “teleport” to.

They then experience the live sights and sounds that the Robot is seeing and hearing at the Portal’s physical location.

A digital on-screen joystick lets travellers guide the robot’s movements through their smartphone or computer with a full-screen view from the robot’s main and secondary cameras.

People around the robot can also see and hear the beamed in remote travellers, and using the robot’s microphone and speakers, remote travellers can speak to locals should they wish.

Challau also supports physical joysticks and other game controllers that are paired with a browser (e.g. Playstation or Xbox controllers) making the experience like a real-life first-person video game. Challau robots are equipped with built-in safety technology and artificial intelligence to support the virtual travel experience.

Challau currently offers virtual travel to seven destinations in the UK, including iconic tourist attractions such as Trafalgar Square London and historic locations in the city of Oxford. Challau aims to scale up to 21 Portal destinations in the UK and internationally early in 2021.

“Countries around the world have imposed many travel restrictions and introduced strict quarantining rules. This makes it very difficult for people to travel for leisure or recreation. Tourism is one of the last remaining sectors to go fully digital – there aren’t any good online alternatives for visiting places and that’s what we wanted to solve with Challau”, says Zain Khawaja, Founder & CEO of Propelmee.

The service is currently free to try at and does not require pre-booking. 

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