Tokyo, Oct 31 (IANS/EFE) Nestle will use robots as sales clerks at its outlets selling coffee makers in Japan, an initiative that will later spread worldwide, a Nestle spokesperson confirmed to EFE news agency.
Humanoid robot “Pepper” has been jointly developed by Japanese telecommunications giant SoftBank Mobile Corp and France’s Aldebaran Robotics, to serve customers in a dozen stores from December onwards.
This will be the first time that Nestle would employ androids as sales clerks, Nestle spokesperson in Japan, Miki Kanoh, told EFE Thursday, adding that the company hoped to take this innovative idea to the rest of the world.
Japan constitutes the largest market in the world for the Nescafe coffee machines and Nestle plans to use the robots in about 1,000 stores worldwide by the end of 2015.
“Pepper” is the first robot that is able to read emotions and communicate with people, according to SoftBank, which already has androids in some of its stores in Japan.
The robot will be marketed in February 2015 for domestic use, at a price of $1,816.67.
“Pepper” is 47.24 inches tall, weighs 28 pounds and is equipped with an interface for pro-active reaction that allows it to recognise human voice, analyse its tone and interpret facial gestures or body language.
It can also dance and make jokes among other entertainment qualities that the robot can learn by itself from interacting with people.