Japan’s SoftBank has suspended production of its humanoid robot Pepper, seven years after the conglomerate unveiled the signature chatty white android to much fanfare.
Pepper robots, used to greet people in stores and hotels in Japan and around the world, have become a symbol of SoftBank’s strategy of pouring resources into new technology including artificial intelligence.
The pint-sized robot, which costs 198,000 yen (S$2,405) plus rental fees, has also recently been used to ease the loneliness of coronavirus quarantine in Japanese hotels for patients with mild symptoms.
We are temporarily suspending production of Pepper but are ready to restart anytime depending on inventory situations,” she said. “Pepper has chiefly been a rental service and you don’t need a lot of new units.