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Forty friendly Russian robots made by Skolkovo resident startup Promobot are to head to Turkey, after a sales agreement was signed with the Turkish company LUXRA TR. The promotional robots, which are designed to provide members of the public with helpful information in busy places and which are already hard at work in Russia, China, the U.K. and other countries, will be sent to Turkey during the next two years after being adapted for their new market.
Promobots are friendly, chatty robots designed to provide people with information in public places. Photo: Sk.ru.
Promobot, a resident of the Skolkovo Foundation’s IT cluster, is also set to open a representative office in Istanbul with LUXRA TR under the agreement. The office will comprise a service centre and marketing department that will arrange for the robots to attend trade fairs and promote them in other target sectors such as business centres, malls, exhibition centres, banks and cinemas in major Turkish cities. The office’s client support centre will work on developing new solutions and functions for the robots, which can currently give people directions in crowded places such as airports and stations, act as tour guides in museums, show customers in shops the range of goods on offer and allow them to pay for them by card, and register people at public events such as conferences.
Alexei Yuzhakov, chairman of the board of directors of Promobot, said the representative office would work with the banking sector and other major corporate sectors with high potential for the use of service robots. Promobots can perform functions such as providing bank customers with information about loans, accounts and other services, and helping them to carry out transactions.
“The Turkish market is really interesting for us,” said Yuzhakov. “We have a similar mentality, and the Russian language is very popular in Turkey, so it should be easier for us and our partners to promote our product on the local market.”
Şen Serkan, director of LUXRA TR, said it was an honour for the company to represent Promobot and become its service provider on the Turkish market.
“We believe that Promobot robots are an amazing product with great potential. Together we’re creating the future,” he said.
The Russian startup began life in a garage in the Urals city of Perm, and has since sold its robots to the U.S., Ireland, Spain and Chile, as well as to China, Kazakhstan and the U.K.
“By concluding contracts for the sale of dozens of robots almost every day, Promobot is smashing the stereotype that the best robots are Japanese,” said Olga Avryasova, a project manager within Skolkovo’s IT cluster.
“Promobot robots are seeing enormous demand, both in Russia and abroad: the number of robots that have either been sent abroad or are waiting to be sent is close to 300, in addition to about 1,000 in Russia,” she said, adding that the company’s dealership network was also growing.
Promobot, a resident of Skolkovo since 2015, last year unveiled its third generation model – a flirty female robot – at the Open Innovations forum held at Skolkovo’s Technopark. The same year, it attracted 150 million rubles ($2.4 million) in investment from the Internet Initiatives Development Fund.
A Promobot robot hit the headlines last year when it was reported to have escaped from its testing lab.