Nitin Chugh, country head of digital banking at HDFC Bank, and Ira. Image source: Business Standard

Nitin Chugh, country head of digital banking at HDFC Bank, and Ira. Image source: Business Standard

India-based HDFC Bank is about to introduce its first “humanoid” branch assistant – Ira.

The human-sized robot was built together with artificial intelligence (AI) company Asimov Robotics.

HDFC says there are plans to bring more robots to its branches, depending on customer feedback.

Ira is part of a broader AI focus at HDFC, which the bank unveiled last year. It spans customer services, marketing, process automation, reaching remote rural areas and other aspects.

The bank is calling on fintech firms, including start-ups, to get in touch with ideas on virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), internet of things (IoT) and rural banking tech.

Recently, another Indian bank, City Union Bank, became the first financial institution in the country to introduce a robot – Lakshmi – to deal with customer queries. Lakshmi is based in the IBM Watson AI engine.

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