India's HDFC Bank is set to introduce customers to its latest recruit, a 'humanoid' robot named Ira, at a Mumbai bank branch later this month.
The new staffer, developed in association with Kochi-based Asimov Robotics, will greet customers as they enter the branch and may be rolled out to more outlets depending on customer reactions to the initiative.
HDFC isn't the firt bank in India to experiment with automated robotic helpers. City Union Bank in November rolled out a miniature bot to a branch in Chennai. Called Lakshmi, the bot has been trained to answer generic customer queries on 125 subjects. Like HDFC's Ira, Lakshmi has a range of physical gestures and speaks in English when answering customer queries.
The introduction of Ira coincides with HDFC's second Digital Summit, which is inviting selected startups to demonstrate the latest innovations in IoT, blockchain, virtual reality and robotics to a jury of the bank's senior managers in February.