Amazon is launching Astro, its first household robot, powered by its Alexa smart home technology. The company said it can be remote-controlled when not at home, to check on pets, people, or home security.
It can patrol a home automatically and send owners a notification if it detects something unusual. Amazon said it was more than “Alexa with wheels” and had been programmed with a range of movements and expressions to give it personality.
Amazon was also keen to address worries about privacy. Astro may be programmed with “out of bounds” zones to prevent it from entering specific places, or it can be configured to “do not disturb.” It also has buttons for turning off cameras and microphones, however when they are turned off, it loses its capacity to move about.
The small robot also comes equipped with an extendable “periscope” camera that pops up from its head. Amazon showed an example of using it to check if a gas hob had been left on after leaving the house.
The technology and retail giant suggested that the $999.99 (£740) robot could be a help to the elderly.