SoftBank stops production of humanoid robot Pepper due to lack of demand

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SoftBank has halted production of its humanoid robot Pepper due to low demand. Production was supposed to have stopped in the summer of last year. Pepper was introduced in 2014 and sold from 2015.

SoftBank confirms production shutdown to Nikkei and BBC. The company does say that Pepper has not been completely scrapped. If there is a demand for the robot again, production will resume. According to Reuters sources, only about 27,000 copies of the robot were made. That would be far less than what SoftBank was hoping for. Pepper grew out of French robotics company Aldebaran, which was acquired by SoftBank in 2012. The Japanese group is said to be planning to lay off half of its 330 employees in France.

Pepper was mainly supplied to companies and was the ‘face’ of SoftBank for many years. The 1.2-meter-tall humanoid robot is intended to take over relatively simple tasks normally performed by humans. The robot has a 10″ screen on the front. Pepper has been used as a receptionist in offices worldwide, to welcome passengers at airports and as a cheerleader at a baseball game. In 2017, another Japanese company demonstrated how it used the robot to support Buddhist to perform rituals at a funeral.

Pepper in a museum – Photo: SoftBank

Promotional video from 2014

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