A Japanese artificial intelligence startup has launched a robot for home use capable of delivering items in response to verbal commands, such as bringing dishes and condiments to the dining room table or books and drinks to the sofa.
The rectangular robot called "Kachaka," developed by Tokyo-based Preferred Robotics Inc., attaches to the bottom of a specially designed table fitted with caster wheels.
The device, about the size of a robot vacuum cleaner, can deliver an object to a specific location in the house that is pre-registered on an app once the object is put on the table and given a command.
It can also bring books and magazines to the owner, who can set a specific time to deliver items daily.
Equipped with sensors and a camera, it will not crash into walls, furniture or other obstacles, but it cannot navigate steps. AI technology analyzes the camera's images to locate people or furniture in the room and decide the best route for the robot to take.
Although automated robots are more widely used in factories, where the surrounding environment is easily controlled, its detection ability enables the robot to be used safely at home, even in varying surroundings, the company said.
Weighing 10 kilograms, the robot can carry up to 20 kg, including the attached table. It moves as fast as 80 centimeters per second.
Preferred Robotics hopes that using the robot will shorten the time spent on household chores when people spend more time at home, such as remote work.
The robot comes with a double- or triple-shelf table and is priced from 251,800 yen ($1,800). Users also need to pay 980 yen a month for the robot app.
Preferred Robotics is a subsidiary of Preferred Networks Inc., one of a small number of so-called "unicorn" companies, or unlisted startups valued at more than $1 billion, in Japan.
Established in 2014, Preferred Networks aims to provide robots that assist humans through AI technology and supercomputers.