(9:50 a.m. EST) — The robots are coming – and Costa Cruises and AIDA are embracing the latest cyborg technology with humanoid robots onboard ships to assist passengers from spring 2016.
The exclusive agreement with French company Aldebaran is said to be worth over a million Euros, and is for the use of Pepper, the world’s first robot designed to read human emotions.
Launched in June 2014, Pepper is fitted with four microphones, two HD cameras, a 3D depth sensor and touch sensors in the head and hands, and is able to interpret emotions by analyzing expressions and voice tones.
The first batch will be introduced on AIDAprima and Costa Diadema in spring 2016 and robots will feature across the fleet by summer. After greeting guests as they embark, Pepper will be on hand to provide tips on restaurants, events and excursions and is able to communicate in English, Italian and German. Pepper recently completed an internship onboard AIDAstella to learn how to engage with customers and crew.
Michael Thamm, CEO of the Costa Group said: «with an emotional robot on board our cruise ships we are once again continuing our tradition of innovation. For us, this is an important step towards a digital future for our brands. I am confident that our guests will love Pepper».
The announcement has raised several questions on the boards and has left flyingv4me wondering whether «Pepper will be included in the tip pool» and WEGL81 asking «can Pepper come onboard as an emotional support pet?».
Royal Caribbean’s Quantum class of ships already feature robot bartenders and the line introduced robot dance shows at Cafe 270 on both Anthem and Quantum of the Seas.