Amazon swears its new robot Astro is more than Alexa on wheels

“Customers don’t just want Alexa on wheels,” Dave Limp, head of Amazon devices, said at a corporate event on Tuesday. Then he introduce...


“Customers don’t just want Alexa on wheels,” Dave Limp, head of Amazon devices, said at a corporate event on Tuesday. Then he introduced a tech-packed household robot that looked a lot like… Alexa on wheels.

At least four years in the making, the little robot, called Astro, has a large screen and cameras attached to a roller base that can navigate a house. It was part of the company’s annual devices event, where Amazon unveiled a line of products, including a smart thermostat, upgrades to its Echo line, and a children’s device for interactive video messaging.

Of all the products featured, Amazon was clearly the most excited about Astro, which was billed as the finale. And from the start, the company tried to work out the differences between Astro and Alexa, the company’s digital assistant. Amazon said Astro’s big eyes on the screen and the different tones it emitted helped give the machine a “unique character.” (Starting at $ 1,000, Astro is also significantly more expensive than most Alexa-enabled devices.)

But the main uses presented by Amazon seemed to reflect some of the capabilities of its Alexa and related products, which were already setting up voice and camera surveillance in different rooms of a house. It does move, however, and Mr Limp said customers could send the robot out to check on people and different pets – for example, raising a camera on a telescopic arm to see if a stove flame is on. always on.

“Or if you are making a video call, Astro will come around the house with you so you can continue the conversation,” he said. In a demo video, a child crawled on the ground at the height of the main camera as the robot followed him. The extendable arm can reach up to 42 inch, meaning its camera would follow an adult roughly around the person’s mid-section.

Mr Limp said Amazon has built “a whole new technological build” for the device to navigate around a house, with several technologists discussing the difficulty of locating and mapping different spaces in a house at the same time. Astro didn’t seem able to navigate the stairs, although he stopped before hitting them down, like a Roomba.

The company said customers could request invitations to be part of its “Day 1 Editions” pilot programs, and that it would start granting them at some point this year.

“In one of the senior management meetings, we talked about ‘Does anyone in the room think that in five or ten years you won’t have robots in your house?’, A Charlie Tritschler, vice president of Amazon, said in the presentation. “Everyone was like, ‘Yes we are.'”

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Newsrust - US Top News: Amazon swears its new robot Astro is more than Alexa on wheels
Amazon swears its new robot Astro is more than Alexa on wheels
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