SoftBank puts a stop to the production of Pepper robots

SoftBank has stopped production of its humanoid robot Pepper. A decision which, according to an official spokesperson, has nothing to do with the company’s restructuring plans.

Earlier this month, SoftBank Robotics said it was considering a major workforce optimization plan. “One of the objectives of the restructuring project is to continue to ensure product sales, service support and maintenance of the Pepper and NAO robots,” SoftBank Robotics said at the time.

The company Softbank Robotics Europe, resulting from the acquisition of the startup Aldebaran Robotics by Softbank, is in particular facing a social plan. Management intends to cut more than half of the posts. The plan is expected to affect 165 of the company’s 323 jobs in France, mainly affecting quality-related services, sales and after-sales service.

Sufficient stocks, according to SoftBank

According to Reuters, SoftBank stopped production of Pepper last year due to restructuring and that it would be costly to restart this process.

Asked for comment, SoftBank Robots said the decision to stop Pepper production was due to the company having enough inventory rather than restructuring plans.

“Pepper’s business is primarily rental and doesn’t always need a brand new Pepper. We now have enough stock for this. As always, we will continue the Pepper business with other robots such as Whiz and Servi, as there is a demand for Pepper today, ”a SoftBank spokesperson told .

An interest that is running out of steam

When SoftBank first brought 1,000 of its Pepper robots to the mainstream market in 2015, the entire series sold out in less than a minute. After its release, Pepper was placed in airports, banks, grocery stores, restaurants, and universities. Since then, however, sales have plummeted due to Pepper’s limited functionality and unreliability, according to Reuters.

Pepper was developed for SoftBank by Aldebaran in 2014, a French robotics company specializing in humanoids that can operate in unstructured environments like homes, stores, and specialty care facilities.

SoftBank Robotics’ restructuring moves come as its parent company, SoftBank, officially sold Boston Dynamics to Hyundai last week.

Source: .com

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