Softbank’s Pepper robot already landed a couple of jobs in Japan, and earlier in July the robot celebrated its first released outside its homeland and on the shores of Taiwan. But the company’s humanoid robot is now preparing to attend its first gig in the United States on August 11 when it will “work” a temporary job at a tech retail store located in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Pepper is a humanoid robot developed by SoftBank in Japan, equipped with a slew of sensors designed to read human emotions, detect voices, and basically act smart and reply in kind. It was unveiled a couple of years ago in 2014, and back then it was believed that the Pepper robot will be available in the United States by the summer of 2015. Evidently the robot’s debut Stateside was delayed, but the good news is that Pepper is now ready to work its first temp job in the US. The robot will be employed by retailer b8ta in the San Francisco Bay Area, and will be responsible for greeting customers walking in and out of the store. It may not be as interactive of a job as waiting tables at Pizza Hut joints in Asia or selling smartphones in a SoftBank store, but obviously, this will make no difference to our robot friend.
With Pepper preparing for its first demo in the United States, SoftBank is also taking this opportunity to set up a developers workshop throughout the weekend after August 11, hoping to get more programmers and developers on board with its Developer Portal unveiled at Google I/O in May 2016 along with the new Pepper SDK for Android Studio. As for the humanoid robot’s market release in the United States, SoftBank intends to launch Pepper later this year but prices remain unknown. However, in Japan Pepper is available for the price of 198,000 Japanese Yen, which translate to roughly $1,955 at today’s conversion rate. Whether or not more businesses will have an interest in “hiring” Pepper remains to be seen, but to get a general idea on Pepper’s abilities and dimensions, you can check out the video below published by SoftBank Robotics America a couple of months ago.