Japan’s SoftBank says Pepper robot remains ‘alive’ and well

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese technology company SoftBank denies it’s pulling the plug on its friendly, bubble-headed Pepper robot. SoftBank Robotics spokesperson Ai Kitamura says there is no change to the Pepper business, which is centered around robots, after reports said it was “dead.” Kitamura said production is regularly adjusted. The company acknowledged the contracts of 330 workers at the Paris division of SoftBank Robotics were being reviewed, but the move was routine and did not spell a death knell for Pepper. The company says that if anything, the need for social distancing during the pandemic has boosted demand for robots like Pepper, which sometimes is used to take people’s temperatures in stores.