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Amazon to open new software development center in Bengaluru to develop consumer robotics

Amazon to open new software development center in Bengaluru to develop consumer robotics
Photo Credit: 123RF.com
30 May, 2022
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Last year, Amazon launched a new kind of home robot, called Astro, in markets like the US. Now, the company is opening a full-fledged robotics software development centre in India, dedicated to the development of its consumer robotics division.

Amazon says that Astro was the first robot from this division, and it will be bringing more. It’s hosting a virtual event for the public on June 2, called ‘All About Astro’ to discuss its efforts in the consumer robotics space.

“Last year we unveiled our first consumer robot, but it certainly will not be our last. This new Consumer Robotics Software Development Center will help support our growing consumer robotics division and attract top talent to work on world-class technology products. India is an innovation hub; having the centre here will help Amazon create better consumer robotics experiences for customers worldwide,” said Ken Washington, Vice President, Consumer Robotics, Amazon, in a blog post.

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It’s unclear what kind of robots Amazon plans to bring in future. Astro is a home assistant robot that weighs just under 10kg and stands at about two-feet high. It is fitted with wheels and cameras, and can follow people around the house. It also uses facial recognition technology to detect different members of a household, and can be used for home security purposes as well.

Amazon isn’t the first company looking at home assistant robots either. Chinese home electronics firm Xiaomi has explored companion robots with the Xiaomi CyberDog, while Sony sells a robot dog, called Aibo, in markets like Japan too. The difference between these and Astro, however, is that Amazon combined different features from smart speakers, sensors etc. and put them all into one mobile robot. Astro also has a 10-inch screen, which can be used to display information, but shows two artificially created eyes at other times.