Amazon unveiled its most ambitious home product. The company sees the novelty as the quintessence of robotics, artificial intelligence, home security and cloud services in one device. We are talking about the Astro robot, which looks like a hybrid of the Roomba robot vacuum and the Echo Show smart display.
Amazon claims Astro can do a lot of things that users can expect from a home robot. He draws up a floor plan to move around the rooms and follow the owner’s commands. The device is capable of recognizing faces and delivering objects to a specific person. Astro can play music, show weather information and answer questions like any smart Echo display. The novelty can be used to make video calls, while the robot will keep the user in the frame, following on his heels. When no one is home, the robot will wander around the rooms to make sure everything is in order.
As ambitious as Astro is, it is still the first step towards effective home robotic assistants. The novelty has no “hands” or other similar manipulators, it cannot wash floors, climb stairs and go outside the house. So you won’t be able to ask him to clean up or go to the store.
The height of the robot is about 61 cm and its weight reaches 9 kg. The wheels of the novelty have a diameter of 30.5 cm, which allows the robot to overcome interior thresholds and move along the carpet, while one roller in the rear allows it to maintain balance. Astro can move at a speed of 1 m / s and can rotate 360 degrees in any direction. Inside the plastic housing are five different motors: one for each drive wheel, one for raising and lowering the periscope camera, and two for panning and tilting the screen. The display of the novelty has a diagonal of 10 inches. The front panel houses an array of sensors and a 5-megapixel camera for video calls. Most of the time, the screen displays two circles that simulate eyes. These “eyes” let you know what Astro is doing and where he plans to go.
Astro uses sensors to map a house. Each room can be marked and adjusted in the Astro smartphone app. Amazon states that all processing and storage of these cards occurs locally on the device and is not transferred anywhere. The same goes for the faces of the users.
Between the sensors on the front of the robot is a pair of two-inch speakers. Below is a passive resonator for better reproduction of low frequencies. Astro is equipped with a 12-megapixel periscope camera that can rise to a height of 106 cm. At the rear there is a small luggage area that allows the robot to carry up to 2 kg of cargo. It is originally a stand with two cupholders, but this stand can be replaced with a basket. In addition, the luggage area is equipped with a USB-C port, allowing you to charge smartphones or connect additional accessories to the robot.
Like the robot vacuum cleaner, Astro has a charging dock to which it can automatically connect. It takes about 45 minutes to fully charge the battery. Without recharging, the robot can work continuously for up to two hours.
The “brain” of the robot is the Qualcomm chip, not the proprietary Amazon AZ2 processor, also presented yesterday. The robot’s software is based on Fire OS and Linux. It’s worth noting that Astro can perform all the functions available on Amazon Smart Displays.
In order to boost sales of the robot, Amazon has priced it at $ 999.99. The company says it will increase its price to $ 1,449.99 in the future when it hits the broader market.