How much does a robot cost

Sales start for the humanoid robot Pepper

Tomorrow is the global start of sales for the human-like robot Pepper: For the equivalent of 1,400 euros plus monthly fee, you can bring the 1.20 m tall plastic companion into your home as a domestic help. Pepper is capable of learning and recognizes emotions.

Pepper is for sale: According to the manufacturer, households can use the humanoid robot as a domestic help, carer and babysitter.

Photo: Softbank

The little human-like robot Pepper should make it big from tomorrow. He is four feet tall, has a white plastic body and a friendly face with large eyes. The Japanese mobile communications group Softbank developed Pepper and presented it for the first time in June 2014. Now Softbank has partnered with the Chinese online trading platform Alibaba to market Pepper. The Taiwanese contract manufacturer and Apple supplier Foxconn is also on board.

Pepper costs 1400 euros

According to the Wall Street Journal, 1000 robots will be available for the market launch on June 20. A further 1000 pieces are then to be produced per month. The selling price for Pepper is the equivalent of 1400 euros. In addition to the moderate price, there is a three-year maintenance contract, which costs over 100 euros per month in the basic version. Only with this service contract should Pepper be able to exploit its full potential.

Pepper in action: Children watch a film on the tablet of the humoid robot before going to bed.

Source: Softbank

Together with its partners, Softbank now wants to build the infrastructure for global marketing of Pepper. Pepper is produced in the huge factories that Foxconn has in China. The robot will then be sold through Alibaba's trading channels. Both partners have each invested the equivalent of 103 million euros in the Softbank subsidiary Softbank Robotics Holding and each acquired a 20% stake in return.

Pepper in action in the care of the elderly

"We want to become the number one robot company," said Softbank boss Masayoshi Son, who wants to open up a new market with Pepper. The first examples of the human-like robot are already serving customers in Softbank's Japanese cell phone stores. Pepper could also be used as a domestic help, carer or babysitter, according to Softbank. He is also suitable as a teacher or office helper.

First and foremost, Pepper is initially suitable as a conversation partner who recognizes the emotions of his counterpart and should respond appropriately. During care in a nursing home, the friendly robot could talk to the elderly and, for example, remind them to take their medication. Videos can be played and pictures shown via the integrated tablet in Pepper's chest area. Softbank boss Masayoshi Son has already announced another Pepper model for autumn.

A contribution by:

  • Gudrun von Schoenebeck

    Gudrun von Schoenebeck has been a journalist in print and online media since 2001. In addition to architecture, art and design, she has above all opened up the exciting field of space travel.