Pepper the robot to work at Pingtung County government

07/22/2016 07:01 PM
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(Photo courtesy of the Pingtung County government)
(Photo courtesy of the Pingtung County government)

Taipei, July 22 (CNA) A humanoid robot developed by Japanese tech company Softbank will soon become the first of its kind to work in the public sector in Taiwan when it joins the Pingtung County government's workforce later this year.

The Pingtung government said Thursday that it has signed an agreement with Asia Pacific Telecom, which sells the service robot -- known as Pepper -- in Taiwan, and is hoping to introduce four Pepper robots into its workforce in October.

Pepper will welcome guests and guide visitors at the county government, help promote government policies, and visit schools and rural areas to interact with students and senior citizens, said Huang Chien-chia (黃建嘉), director of the county government's Department of Research and Evaluation.

Pingtung County Magistrate Pan Men-an (潘孟安) said Pingtung is known for its agriculture and tourism, but it also hopes to boost its tech savviness and is planning to introduce robot technology in various disciplines in the future.

"Pepper will not only be a robot, but a member of the county government," Huang said.

Pepper was jointly developed by SoftBank Corp. and France-based Aldebaran and was manufactured by Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., the world's largest contract electronics maker.

The robot is advertised as being able to read human emotions and to respond to emotional cues such as laughing or frowning.

(By Kuo Chih-hsuan and Christie Chen)ENDITEM/ls

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