Softbank Robotics has announced it is working on a Tokyo cafe that will be run by its humanoid robot Pepper.
The cafe, called Pepper Parlor, will utilise both human and robot staff to serve customers, and marks the company’s first time operating a restaurant or cafe.
“[The] aim is to create a space where people can easily experience the coexistence of people and robots and enjoy the evolution of robots and the future of living with robots,” Softbank Robotics said.
“We want to make robots not only for convenience and efficiency, but also to expand the possibilities of people and bring happiness.”
Pepper Parlor, according to Softbank Robotics, will provide customers with a waffle-inspired menu, with the waffle items to be influenced by countries around the world.
The robot-run cafe will be located at Tokyu Plaza Shibuya and is set to open in December next year.
When SoftBank first offered 1,000 of its emotionally intelligent Pepper robots to the consumer market in 2015, the entire run sold out in under a minute.
Pepper was developed for SoftBank by Aldebaran, a French robotics company specialising in emotionally intelligent humanoids that can function in unstructured environments like homes, shops, and specialised care facilities.
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Researchers claim that Pepper was commercialized before it was ready, and that ‘the manufacturer extensively neglected any sort of security assessments.’