Amazon has today announced its long-awaited home assistant robot named Astro. It is the tech giant’s most ambitious in-house product so far. Priced at $999.99, it is available as a Day 1 Edition product that can be purchased thorugh an invite.
The company is seeing the product as bringing together many different parts of the company into one device — robotics, AI, home monitoring, and cloud services. It is the next step in what Amazon believes to be the inevitable home robot.
Astro is around two feet high and weighs about 20 pounds. The main drive wheels are about 12 inches in diameter and a single caster in the back helps it in keeping balance. It has a top speed of one meter per second and can move in 360 degrees, forward, back, or any direction.
The Amazon Astro can perform a wide range of things. It can map out your floor plan and obey commands to go to a specific room. It can also recognize faces and deliver items to a specific person.
The product can also play music and show weather details as well as answer questions like any Echo smart display. It can be used for video calls and can also follow your movement when you are on a call. It can roam around your house when you aren’t home, making sure everything is okay.
It has a 12-megapixel periscope camera that can raise up to 42 inches high and can also be used for video calls. At the back, there’s a small payload area that is capable of carrying 4.4lbs (2kg) of cargo.
Through third-party accessories, it can also record data like blood pressure. However, the product still has a long way to go given that it can’t clean floors or climb stairs and can’t perform numerous things that you expect from a home robot.
Amazon says that all the processing and storage for mapping the house happens locally on the device. The facial recognition data is also stored locally on the Astro. However, it adds that a “portion of that data is sent securely to the cloud” so that you can tell Astro where to go using the smartphone app. It can only be paired to a single smartphone at a time which Amazon says is designed to help prevent unauthorized access.