Commonwealth Bank of Australia has made a high-profile and expensive hire: Chip, a humanoid robot that will be used to carry out research into artificial intelligence (AI).
The bank has paid A$300,000 for Chip, one of only three REEM robots from Spanish firm PAL Robotics in the world, according to the Australian.
Chip is at the centre of a new two year academic partnership with University of Technology Sydney (UTS), the Australian Technology Network of Universities (ATN), and property development giant Stockland.
Commbank's Sydney innovation lab will be used as a testing environment for students and academics of Australia’s leading technology universities to conduct research and development in social robotics using Chip.
Kelly Bayer Rosmarin, group executive, institutional banking and markets, CommBank, says: "The development of robotics and artificial intelligence will affect all of us in the future...This research will help us better understand the impact social robotics will have on the lives of people, customers and industries across Australia."
In Japan robots have already started to make their way into bank branches. Earlier this year, Mizuho outlined plans to deploy 48-inch humanoids called Pepper that have been supercharged by IBM's Watson cognitive computing platform in several of its branches.
Watson's natural language and other cognitive capabilities helps Pepper to analyse information from the Mizuho website as well as customer-specific information, enabling them to have personalised interactions.
For Stockland's part, CEO Mark Steinert, says: "We’re interested in how robotics could be used in our business parks and logistics centres, shopping centres and our residential and retirement living communities."