TOKYO – Japanese tech giant Sony will return to the robotics market next spring after a gap of 12 years with a domestic robot that resembles a pet, equipped with artificial intelligence and internet connectivity.
The company is assembling a new team with the same designers involved in the pioneer robot-dog AIBO, which Sony launched in 1999 and which was halted in 2006, financial daily Nikkei reported on Sunday.
Sony’s pet robot will resemble a dog, but will be capable of controlling domestic appliances with a voice command, similar to smart speakers launched by Amazon and Google, Nikkei said.
In 2016, while presenting its strategy for the year, Sony announced that it was working on robots that would be able to “win people’s hearts.”
In this regard, its President Kazuo Hirai explained that the aim was to introduce a new business model that offers new experiences for users, combining its audiovisual and home entertainment technologies with the latest advances in robotics and artificial intelligence.
In 2016, Sony acquired a part of the emerging US firm Cogitai which specializes in the development of programs for learning and prediction of events for AI systems.
With the launch of this type of robot, Sony follows in the footsteps of other Japanese firms such as telecom giant Softbank, which launched the android Pepper in June 2015.