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Costa trials humanoid robot—Pepper can 'read' cruisers' emotions

Pepper successfully completed an internship aboard AIDAstella
The Costa Group is trialing a robot that's touted as being able to read 'main human emotions.' Pepper is intended to help and delight passengers on the ships of Costa Cruises and AIDA Cruises.

Pepper has completed an internship on board AIDAstella—with flying colors, according to Costa Group.

'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,' Costa Group ceo Michael Thamm said.

The use of Pepper robots is part of an exclusive agreement, worth more than a million euros, Costa signed with the French company Aldebaran.

'I am very happy that the Costa Group gave us this opportunity. Pepper is built to interact with humans, their emotions and needs. We hope that it will fit to improve AIDA and Costa travelers’ experience,' said Fumihide Tomizawa, president of Aldebaran and SoftBank Robotics Corp.

The first Peppers are scheduled to join the crew and start helping aboard AIDAprima and Costa Diadema in the spring, guiding passengers when they embark and while on board. They will also be on hand to provide recommendations and tips on restaurants, events and excursions.

Pepper speaks German, Italian and English.

The robot is 120 centimeters (just under four feet) tall and weighs 28 kilograms (62 pounds). Pepper has 17 joints to facilitate graceful movements, and three omni-directional wheels.

A three-dimensional camera detects people and their movements, enabling Pepper to interact with them. The robot is also equipped with a 10-inch touch screen.