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SoftBank teams up with Microsoft to develop cloud robots

2016/03/09 17:09:37

Softbank's Pepper robot. (CNA file photo)

Taipei, March 9 (CNA) Japanese telecom giant SoftBank Corp., whose popular "Pepper" robots are manufactured by a Taiwanese contractor, recently announced a new partnership with Microsoft Corp. to jointly develop robots to help retailers provide better customer service.

SoftBank made the announcement on the new initiative Tuesday, saying that it will cooperate with Microsoft in the area of cloud robotics, with a focus on integrating "Pepper" robots with Microsoft's cloud computing technologies.

"Pepper" robots -- jointly developed by SoftBank and Taiwanese contract manufacturer Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (鴻海) -- have been popular since going on sale in the Japanese market last June.

The first step in the new partnership will be to integrate SoftBank's robotics with Microsoft's cloud computing platform to create robots that can interact with customers to provide better shopping experiences.

The proposed robotics solution is expected to hit the market in Japan in autumn, SoftBank said.

By analyzing cloud computing data to create customized statistics, the new robots will be able to make recommendations on products to customers to meet their needs, SoftBank said.

The new robots that apply cloud computing concepts will rely on facial recognition and speech recognition technologies to assist customers, the Japanese company said.

(By Jalen Chung and Elaine Hou)
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