NTT is already developing technologies for the recognition and processing of human expressions such as language and gestures, as well as for the interaction of human words, gestures and expressions. Toyota is regarded as one of the pioneers in the development of so-called assistance robots: The company wants to use the compact helpers in private households.
By bundling their know-how, the two companies want to bring improved assistance robots onto the market. Toyota supplies robots that can perform three basic tasks in everyday life: pick up objects from the ground, fetch objects and communicate with family and – in the case of persons in need of care – with caregivers. NTT contributes speech recognition, dialogue control and synthetic speech technologies as well as technology for non-verbal communication.
As a first step, Toyota and NTT are developing prototypes for events and shopping malls. The service robots are supposed to communicate with visitors and customers, to give them objects and goods and explain them. The aim is to test their acceptance and effectiveness and at the same time to identify possible problems. The prototypes will be presented for the first time at the NTT stand at the CEATEC JAPAN 2017 (October 3-6) at the Makuhari Fair in Tokyo. Afterwards, demonstrations and trials will be held at selected events.
In addition, NTT will make the technology available to other manufacturers, universities and research institutions, among others, in order to further advance the technological development of important functions.