Nestlé, MasterCard and Pizza Hut are using SoftBank’s robot in store

Pepper is growing up. The cutesy humanoid robot embraced by early adopters and novelty seekers now has to start earning a living say his creators at SoftBank. The Japanese internet group, founded by Masayoshi Son, launched Pepper in 2014 and has sold 10,000 of the robots… Early commercial buyers have included Nestlé, which deploys a fleet of Peppers in stores to sell Nescafé coffee-making machines… MasterCard, the payments network, has put Pepper to work taking orders and payments in Pizza Hut outlets in a pilot scheme in Taipei, and plans to roll out a fuller launch in Asia over the next six months… While SoftBank has led the way with humanoid robots… others are following suit, seeing a role for robots beyond the factory floors. Sony has introduced a new robotic dog, two years after the demise of predecessor Aibo… Carmaker Toyota is launching Kirobo Mini, a talking robot costing less than $400 that it claims has the intelligence of a five-year-old and the ability to learn phrases and recognise facial expressions.


Louise Lucas