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During today’s Amazon 2021 event, we got to check out a new home robot assistant called Astro. In addition to providing the whole range of Alexa voice commands you’re used to, the Astro has a telescoping camera that can get a full view of your home, not just from ground level.
It uses autonomous movement, home mapping, and visual understanding to learn the layout of your home and navigate its many changing obstacles. To help humanize the robot, Astro features a unique personality, thanks to its eyes and vocal range.
Amazon subsidiary Ring is tied in with Astro by way of a new security service. Ring Protect Pro connects Astro with live security personnel if it ever detects a disturbance during its patrols. Astro also has audio recognition capabilities via Alexa Guard that can detect alarms and other custom sounds so you can be alerted right away.
While home security is a major use case, Amazon also demonstrated how Astro can help keep in touch with loved ones who might need help from time to time. For starters, Astro lets you instantly start a call using Drop In. It also makes use of the new Alexa Together feature, whereby routines can be created and shared between family members, and professional emergency response is immediately accessible.
Amazon pledges that this is their first robot — but not their last. If their Ring Always Home drone is any indication, Amazon is very keen to have its cameras moving around your house. That may sound alarm bells in your head, but Amazon was putting a lot of emphasis on privacy throughout the launch event. Astro in particular will have LED indicators showing when it’s livestreaming any video or audio. How much are you willing to trust Amazon when it comes to cameras and microphones in the home?
As part of Amazon’s Day 1 Edition program, Astro is available to preorder at an introductory price of $999.99 (provided you have an invite) and will be shipping later this year. After that, Astro will cost $1,499.99.