The high seas are going high-tech this Spring, following Costa Cruise Line’s debut of Pepper the robot, who has the novel ability to read and react to human emotions.
Costa reps said Pepper, who’s trilingual in German, Italian and English, will be available to assist passengers with embarkation information as well as onboard recommendations for dining, events, and shore excursions.
Don’t let Pepper’s diminutive size—she’s about four feet tall—fool you. Equipped with four microphones, two HD cameras, a 3D depth sensor, and a touch screen that enables the robot to communicate via voice communication, touch and emotions, Pepper can even read body language and detect emotions.
Developed by Japanese telecom mogul SoftBank and French Robotics company Aldebaran, this brand of robot technology was first introduced in June 2014 in Japan.
"With an emotional robot on board, our cruise ships we are once again continuing our tradition of innovation,” CEO of Costa Group Michael Thamm said in a statement. “I’m confident that our guests will love Pepper.”
Of course this isn’t the first time the high seas has seen robots in action. Last year, cruisers aboard Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas were introduced to robot bartenders at the ships Bionic Bar, a high-tech venue on board featuring two drink-slinging robotic arms hired to mix drinks to order.
Costa said Pepper and other robots will join the whole Costa and sister ships AIDA fleet by summer 2016.
Michelle Gross is a Freelance Producer at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @mtothegnyc