Russian banking group Sberbank has partnered with technology major Microsoft Research (MSR) to explore the use of Microsoft AI solutions in robotics.

Both partners will work together on AI algorithms to train robots to deal with physical objects similar to humans so that the robots can perform coin counting at the branches.

Under the agreement, Sberbank research engineers and their MSR counterparts will work together in Redmond, US.

The partners will leverage Microsoft’s AI platform along with simulation modelling in virtual reality to develop autonomous AI systems.

The new system will include video cameras, a manipulator, and an arm grabber, to boost the occupational safety of the operators who unload coin bags from carts at cash handling and cash-in-transit centres.

Sberbank chairman of the executive board and CEO Herman Gref said: “Sberbank has committed to spearheading AI evolution under the Digital Economy national programme, which is why it’s crucial that we adopt the best global practices.

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“We are looking for the optimal ways to apply our in-house solutions and patents when addressing the issues facing the bank and running the strategic nationwide initiatives in this area. These are the reasons behind our cooperation with Microsoft, an industry leader which has been investing in AI development for over 25 years.”

Microsoft Russia president Kristina Tikhonova stated: “Leading the digital transformation in Russia, Sberbank is a bright example showing that in the new economy any company grows into an IT company.

“By uniting our AI expertise and due to the high level of trust between the companies we should achieve impressive results that’ll contribute to the innovative development of the bank and other industries in Russia.”