The robot with a “heart” Pepper, developed by Japanese giant Softbank’s robotics division, was welcomed with open arms by the customers on the first day of its sale on Saturday, wherein 1000 peppers were sold out in one minute, as reported by the company itself.
Priced at ¥198,000 ($1,600) with an additional ¥24,600 ($200) monthly data and insurance fees, Pepper is more like an emotional robot with an array of cameras, touch sensors, accelerometer and other sensors in his “endocrine-type multi-layer neural network,” capable of responding to feelings of joy, love and happiness and develop its personality gradually as it interacts more and more with people around it.
This robot has been created to make people happy to interact with. He’s an emotional robot, not a functional robot for domestic use with dish-washer or vacuum-cleaner functionalities.
reads the Pepper FAQ on the website of SoftBank’s partner, French robotics company Aldebaran SAS.
Pepper currently has the ability to speak English, French, Japanese and Spanish. In the next few months, there will be more language releases in its app store, which already has around 200 apps, pretty decent for a robot.
Two days prior to the Saturday sale, Softbank had announced a partnership with Chinese technology firm Foxconn Technology Group and e-retailer Alibaba who invested a total of $236 million for the development of robotic technology and give Pepper a global platform.
Though Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son said that they do not expect Pepper to be profitable for at least 4 years but they expect the robot to bring in profits by the fifth year and become a major force in revenues 20 to 30 years later in the future.
Company officials stated that they want to keep Pepper affordable, and compared the price of the robot to that of a pet dog in Japan, according to a press event held last week.
After the incredible response to the first sale, Softbank for now, is not taking any more orders for June and said that plans for the next sale will be announced somewhere around July this year where it will also announce the plans for Pepper to be made available for business as well.
Pepper already has found use as a business prospect, in Nestle coffee machines at its Japanese stores.