Amazon Launches Astro the Home Robot

Amazon on Tuesday has launched its first autonomous household robot Astro, powered by Alexa smart-home technology, and capable of driving around one’s home to monitor pets, people, or home security.

Astro is capable of mapping the home’s layout, recognize objects, and check on people and pets remotely using a series of cameras and a display on its front.

Astro can also handle video calls, recognizing its owner and looking for its owner once someone calls. It can provide all the features of Alexa on wheels but Amazon said Astro was more than “Alexa with wheels” because it had been programmed with a range of movements and expressions to give it personality.

Ben Wood of CCS Insight, a tech research group, commented that “there is no question the Astro robot will become a lightning conductor in the privacy debate. But ultimately it is up to consumers to decide whether they want this type of technology in their homes. This product will be the litmus test for convenience versus privacy.”

The Astro, which has been in development for the past four years, will cost $999 and ship to a limited number of customers later this year during Amazon’s Day.

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