Costa trials onboard robots

Pepper robots are being used on board Costa and Aida cruise ships

Costa Group has signed an exclusive agreement with French company Aldebaran to use its Pepper robots on board vessels to assist passengers on Costa and Aida cruise ships. Pepper is the world’s first robot that reads main human emotions.

Michael Thamm, chief executive of the Costa Group, said: “With an emotional robot on board our cruise ships we are once again continuing our tradition of innovation. For us, this is an important step towards a digital future for our brands.”

Pepper has successfully completed a trial on board AIDAstella. The first batch of Peppers will join the crew and start helping on board AIDAprima and Costa Diadema in spring 2016, guiding guests when they embark and while on board. They will also be on hand to provide recommendations and tips on restaurants, events and excursions. They can communicate in German, Italian and English. By summer of 2016 the rest of the robots will be joining the crew aboard the Costa and Aida fleets.

Pepper was developed in Japan and is the first humanoid robot capable of recognising the main emotions and to take his environment into account and proactively act accordingly. Pepper is well equipped with features and a high-level interface for communicating with those around him, to move fluidly and analyse expressions and voice tones using the latest advances in voice and emotion recognition.

The robot measures 120cm tall and weighs 28kg. Its movement is provided by three omnidirectional wheels while a 3D camera detects people and their movements and it has a 10 inch touch screen.

Smiles all ’round for AIDAprima

AIDAprima's lips will shine across a total area of 150sq mtr

AIDAprima’s lips will shine across a total area of 150sq mtr

Rostock artist Feliks Büttner, creator of the signature kissing lips, eyes and waves found on the bow of every AIDA Cruises ship, faced a special challenge designing the motif for AIDAprima, currently under construction at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries shipyard in Nagasaki, Japan.

The designer had to adapt the graphic design for the first AIDA ship to be built outside Germany, as the bow of the MHI-constructed vessel is different from the others in the fleet.

The position lights and anchor hatch in the bow section also had to be taken into account in the application of the motif in order to create its familiar three-dimensional effect. A total 342 litres of paint in 11 colours was used.

In 1996, AIDA Cruises became the first cruise line to introduce a painting on its ships’ bows.

For two decades, AIDA ships have been wearing the smile across the oceans.

When completed, AIDAprima’s kissing lips will shine across a total area of 150sq mtr. Each eye on the starboard and port side covers an area of 212sq mgr, and the blue waves on both sides of the hull fill an area of 330sq mtr. The entire painting extends over a length of 261mtr, surpassing all previous such paintings in the AIDA fleet.

The 124,500gt AIDAprima is scheduled to start its maiden cruise on October 1 from Yokohama, Japan. The 50-day journey ends on November 20 in Dubai. Following a winter season in the Middle East, the ship will depart from Dubai on March 18, 2016, headed for home port of Hamburg commencing a year-round programme of weekly cruises to Southhampton, Le Havre, Zeebrugge and Rotterdam end April.