Customer service robot debuts at Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ

JIJI

Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ took a first step toward employing nonhuman staff on Monday, with the introduction of a customer service humanoid robot at its flagship Tokyo outlet.

Standing 58 cm tall and weighing 5.4 kg, the Nao robot will work at reception until April 23 before potentially being rolled out full time, according to the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. unit.

It assisted 18 visitors on its first day, the bank said, providing information using gestures.

The robot, developed by French company Aldebaran Robotics, a subsidiary of Japanese telecom and technology giant SoftBank Corp., speaks Japanese, English and Chinese.

However, it is designed to respond in 19 languages, with the bank mulling its more widespread use for foreign customers ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

One female customer welcomed the robot bank clerk and said it was cute.

Meanwhile, Mizuho Bank plans to introduce the Pepper humanoid robot in July.