Kuka, Germany’s largest maker of industrial robotics, plans an ambitious move into the world of personal assistant robots with the help of Midea, the Chinese appliance maker that acquired it for €4.5bn last year.
Till Reuter, Kuka chief executive since 2009, told the FT he sees potential to draw on Midea’s consumer expertise to create robots that would help out on household tasks.
Robots already perform many traditionally human tasks, from vacuuming to surgery—and they could soon help care for the sick and elderly. But until they can convincingly discern and mimic emotions, their caretaker value will be severely limited.
There are already more robot vacuum cleaners in people’s homes than many species of intelligent animals boast in absolute numbers. Although these machines are effective at simple tasks, they are not yet as intelligent as any of our pets.
WHO would be a delivery driver? As if a brutal schedule, grumpy motorists, lurking traffic wardens and the risk of an aching back were not bad enough, they now face the fear of robots taking their jobs.
We’ve just installed a new appliance in our kitchen, though it doesn’t help much with the cooking. Amazon Echo is a cylindrical, talking computer about the size of a Pringles can. It sits on the table, answers to the name “Alexa”, and responds to voice commands.
Imagine your elderly grandmother is in a nursing home and has fallen out of her chair. As she lies on the floor, she pulls the alarm cord and, after a few seconds, help arrives. But it’s not a care worker standing there – it’s a robot.
Vespa, best known for its stylish scooters, is trying something new.
The Italian company is opening a Boston-based division, called Piaggio Fast Forward, to focus on the future of mobility. Its first creation is Gita, a robot designed to carry cargo, such as groceries, and follow around a pedestrian or cyclist.
Hanson Robotics is looking to bring Albert Einstein back to life. The Hong Kong-based company has launched a Kickstarter campaign for the Professor Einstein robot that wowed attendees at CES 2017, looking to raise $99,898.