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Sony revives Aibo pet robot with AI smarts

02 November 2017, 12:50 | Hattie Nash

Sony Corp’s entertainment robot ‘aibo’ approaches its staff at a news conference in Tokyo

Sony Corp’s entertainment robot ‘aibo’ approaches its staff at a news conference in Tokyo

It comes with an array of sensors, cameras and microphones and boasts internet connectivity, allowing owners to play with the pet remotely via smartphone.

The new version of Aibo will go on sale in Japan from January 2018.

The two announcements came one day after Sony forecasted a historical-high profit this year in its second-quarter (ending September 30) financial report.

New Aibo is powered by AI and is also connected to the cloud.

The company has created a new robotic dog - Aibo - which was unveiled in Tokyo on Wednesday.

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Sony is aiming to sell more of the devices, exceeding the previous generation's 150,000 units, according to Izumi Kawanishi, executive vice president.

"It was a hard decision to stop the project in 2006, but we continued development in AI and robotics", Kazuo Hirai, Sony's chief executive officer, said in a news briefing. The central part of the robots' eyes are made of organic electroluminescence displays that can display bright colors, so it has a range of facial expressions. The starting price for the improved model of the robot dogs was 1.9 thousand dollars, however, for a service robot to its owner will need to sign a contract for three years, which will cost at least $ 790. Sony hasn't announced a launch date for the USA market yet.

The comeback of Aibo is not only good news to pet owners, but also a declaration of Sony's transition from a consumer electronics manufacturer to a leading voice in A.I. AI start up called Cogitai that focuses on technology allowing machines to learn autonomously and continually from interaction in the real world.

Sony also adds that they believe AI technology is a future pillar of growth and they hope to catch up with major technology companies like Facebook, Apple, and Google to develop AI technology.

Earlier this year, Sony's education arm launched its first product, Koov, which aims to teach children coding through building and programming robots using plastic blocks.

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