Will Amazon see the wood for the trees with its first robot?

World

Will Amazon see the wood for the trees with its first robot?

The company, known for scrappy and relatively cheap gizmos, has set its biggest test to date with the pricey bot

Matt Day and Mark Gurman

Amazon.com on Tuesday unveiled a home robot called Astro, a screen on wheels that works with the company’s Alexa voice software.

The bot, which has been in development since 2018, was shown at an Amazon product event checking on pets while a user was away and following a child through the home during a video call. It can autonomously patrol the home and respond to voice commands, and will cost $1,000 (about R15,000) for invited shoppers later this year. After that, it will cost $1,500 (about R22,600), the company said.

The device’s screen, which by default displays a pair of circles to imitate eyes, is capable of travelling about a metre per second. Embedded cameras help the robot map its environment and navigate, and Astro also includes a periscope to expand its field of view...

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