Amazon Unveils New ‘Astro’ Robot Meant To Appeal To Consumers

E-commerce giant %Amazon ($AMZN) has introduced a new robot for consumers called %AstroRobot that is meant to be friendly and change the way many people feel about %ArtificialIntelligence.

The rolling home robot that has a cute face contains cameras that bring the company’s Ring security features inside the house for %RingProtectPro subscribers. Its microphones connect to the popular Alexa voice assistant. The robot’s face doubles as an internet-connected tablet, enabling video calls.

Amazon says Astro has been designed to be deliberately cute and form an emotional connection with people. Its face, with animated eyes, swivels as it looks for people to deliver reminders and notices to. The robot can also carry snacks to people in their home and it will dance when asked to.

Additionally, Astro patrols the home and lets users check out sounds by rolling over and raising a mast-mounted camera.

Amazon’s personal robot isn’t new. %Sony ($SONY) debuted a similar robot called %Aibo in 1999, and the %RobotDog is now in its fourth generation.

American homes currently host 19 million self-propelled robot vacuums, among the most advanced personal robots currently available. Personal robot machines designed to entertain, secure, and connect us have yet to really takeoff though.

Amazon has already transformed online shopping, and its Kindle e-reader and Amazon Alexa voice assistant are the leaders in their respective markets. The e-commerce company now wants to influence the personal robot field with its Astro home robot.

The Astro robot currently costs $999, and it’s available for purchase by invitation only (interested consumers can request an invite from Amazon). Once it becomes available for general purchase, the robot’s price will go up to $1,450, according to the company.

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