The First Robot Crew Member

Technological advances are being made all the time within the cruising industry. Many fantastic new vessels have launched over the past couple of years offering futuristic with features such as robotic bartenders and driving simulators. Last week, Costa Cruises, owned by Carnival Corporation, announced it would be adding a technological feature on board its ships that goes above anything seen before.

For the first time in cruising history, a robot will fulfil a crew role on board a vessel. Costa Cruises have announced that the popular Japanese robot, Pepper, will feature on Costa Diadema, as well as Aida Cruises’ AIDAprima. The robot will be able to assist with greeting passengers as they come on board and helping with everyday queries such as deciding between the excursions available and restaurant recommendations.

Developed by Japanese telecom giant Softbank and Taiwanese contract manufacturer Hon Hai Precision Industry, Pepper the robot is a clear indication of how robots can be integrated into day-to-day life. The four-foot-tall robot is capable of reading human emotions such as laughter and frowning. It can also respond to human interaction by both answering questions and physically, by offering to shake your hand.

Pepper was launched in 2014 and has fast become a popular household appliance in homes across Japan. It is renowned for its friendly appearance and hides a range of technology beneath the bonnet that enables it to react to human behaviour. There are four microphones placed in the head, along with two HD cameras and a 3D depth sensor. It also has a gyroscope in the torso and sensors in the head and hands, as well as an array of sonars, lasers and bumper sensors in the mobile base.

Michael Thamm, CEO of the Costa Group, said: "With the world's first deployment of an emotional robot on board we are once again continuing our tradition of innovation. For us, this is an important step towards a digital future for our brands and I am confident that our guests will love Pepper."

A spokesperson for Costa Cruises stated that the line will look to feature Pepper the robot across the entire fleet by summer 2016.

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