Tue. Oct 19th, 2021


Amazon unveils an autonomous robot designed to patrol the home, part of a range of new technology products that can sound the alarm digital privacy lawyers.

The near-knee robot, named Astro, is described by device group leader Dave Limp as a ‘beautiful illustration’ of progress in artificial intelligence.

The robot can be sent to specific locations in the home, with a periscope camera rising from the top of the device that can film up to eye level, and users can follow while making video calls.

‘We had to utilize AI in so many new ways, including the use of deep neural learning to map anchor points in the home and build new dynamics [simultaneous localisation and mapping] algorithms that are constantly refreshing, ”said Limp.

The Astro, developed over the past four years, costs $ 999 and will be shipped to a limited number of customers later this year, Limp said. During a streamed event Tuesday morning, he demonstrated Astro on stage by asking it to beatbox.

A touch screen in front of Astro displays two large cartoon eyes to make it look more accessible, its engineers said in a promotional video. “In five to ten years, we believe that every home will have at least one robot that will become an important part of your daily life,” Limp said.

Ben Wood of CCS Insight, a technical research group, said: ‘As with others Amazon products, there is no doubt that the Astro robot will become a lightning rod in the privacy debate. But ultimately, it is up to consumers to decide if they want this type of technology in their homes. This product will be the litmus test for convenience versus privacy. ”

Matthew Guariglia, a policy analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a group for digital civil liberties, said consumers would be reluctant to invite a robot made by Amazon home.

‘If anyone has ever wanted an iPad on wheels that could roll in your home, this device might be of interest to them. “But I think consumers are really more aware of the privacy risks than they were a few years ago,” he said.

Amazon said the Astro has built-in privacy features, such as ‘out of bounds’ areas where the robot may not go, as well as a ‘do not disturb’ mode that limits how much the robot moves at certain times.

Astro will integrate with Amazon’s Ring home security system, which also includes an indoor drone that can fly in the house that was first announced last year but has not yet been widely announced.

As part of the Ring system updates also announced Tuesday, Amazon said it would launch a $ 99-a-month virtual security guard service that would allow a remote worker to access a customer’s live get feed at home to determine any danger, such as an intruder.

The company has been trying to ward off what could likely be an attack on privacy issues due to its updates, which also includes a small video chat device for kids and a wall-mounted version of its Echo device, the screen of which could change on ground of the person looking at it.

In addition to emphasizing that such features can be disabled, Amazon said that its custom-made computer chip, the AZ1, makes it possible to process spoken instructions on the device, rather than sending it to a server.

The company has come under sharp criticism in the past for its privacy practices when it was reported that staff listened to recordings of recordings to improve the technology it supports.

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