Sony Planning To Create More Robots After Aibo

Arthur James January 11, 2018
Sony Planning To Create More Robots After Aibo

The verdict is still out on Sony Corp.’s new pet dog ‘Aibo,’ but that’s not stopping the company from planning a deeper push into robotics.

The mechanical mutt, which goes on sale in Japan on Thursday, is just the beginning of the Tokyo-based company’s return to robotics, Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai said. While Aibo is primarily a toy, its artificial-intelligence capabilities and robotic architecture can be used to create machines for various service fields, he said.

“The technology we incorporated into Aibo -- A.I., robotics, and that combination -- in different form-factors can manifest itself in other robots that can be a part of transportation, education, healthcare,” Hirai said. “So it has a lot of different applications beyond just being an entertainment robot.”

Hirai ordered the push into robotics in 2016, a decade after Sony discontinued the original version of its robot dog -- then called AIBO -- which had gained a cult following in Japan.

Sony’s Aibo

Sony's Aibo has been revived in time for CES 2018, and it’s quite a return.

This version of the Sony Aibo has far more artificial intelligence (AI) and sensors baked into it than the previous model, so much so that Sony has angled it around simulating an untrained dog. The new hook around Aibo is that you will have to train it through voice commands and positive reinforcement, just like you do a real dog.

Aibo uses a series of sensors and cameras to understand both its environment and your interactions with it.

All of that, within an adorable, Rankin and Bass-looking design, will cost less than $2,000 (about £1,479, AU$2,500) in the US when it launches later this year

While the new Aibo promises more functionality powered by advanced artificial intelligence, it has drawn criticism for lacking features offered by digital assistants such as Inc.’s Alexa and Apple Inc.’s Siri.

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Arthur James


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