SoftBank says its Pepper robot business is alive and well

TOKYO — Japanese technology company SoftBank denies it’s pulling the plug on its friendly, talking, bubble-headed Pepper robot.

“There is absolutely no change to our Pepper business,” SoftBank Robotics Corp. spokesperson Ai Kitamura said Wednesday.

Pepper, introduced seven years ago, is centered around a rentals business, and production is regularly adjusted, the Tokyo-based company said.

While production was halted temporarily, Kitamura denied reports that set off speculation Pepper might be “killed.”

The company acknowledged the contracts of 330 workers at the Paris division of SoftBank Robotics were being reviewed, but the move was routine and did not spell a death knell for Pepper.

If anything, the need for social distancing during the pandemic has boosted demand for robots like Pepper, which sometimes is used to take people’s temperatures in stores.

Pepper robots, which have expressive hands but…

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