Meet Pepper, TUI’s first robotic employee

The latest hire by TUI Nordic is not human, but a humanoid robot named Pepper 2E, which will work as a robot assistant and be a part of the company’s new Data Analytics and Machine Learning team.

Primarily based in TUI’s Stockholm office, Pepper 2E has started his new role since August 14. His main responsibility is to inspire innovation, curiosity and technological pioneering, in addition to helping visitors as well as colleagues and external customers with everyday questions and problems.

TUI Group’s Friedrich Joussen (left) and TUI Nordic’s Alexander Huber say hello to Pepper 

Like any TUI employee, Pepper 2E has a detailed job description as well as set “personal” goals he will be evaluated on. He will report to a manager who will incorporate him into the team’s day-to-day tasks. The robot assistant will also spend the first few months hovering around the office to know the company and his new human colleagues.

“Automation, AI and robotics are important elements of TUI’s future,” said Alexander Huber, managing director of TUI Nordic, said to be the first travel company in the world to incorporate robotics in this way. “I hope he sparks curiosity and engagement with all of our TUI Nordic colleagues.”

Elke Eller, HR director of TUI Group and member of the board, said: “Employees like Pepper 2E can support our teams. At the same time they give us an impression of what the work of the future might look like. The ‘hiring’ of Pepper 2E stands for curiosity about the future and openness for new technologies. These are important prerequisites for the success of the digital transformation of TUI.”

A semi-humanoid robot manufactured by SoftBank Robotics, Pepper understands and speaks in numerous languages and can understand human emotions. Pepper’s touch screen increases his capacity to interact and enables him to enhance communication by providing visual information. His entirely programmable platforms offers manifold usage possibilities to enrich the experience.

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