According to The Asahi Shimbun, man’s best robotic friend could be set for a comeback with Sony Corp.’s re-entry into the home robots business a decade after halting production of the much-loved Aibo robotic dog.
“Our robots will provide an emotional connection as well as the joy of nurturing, and people will love them,” said Sony President Kazuo Hirai on 29 June at a briefing session on the company’s management.
Hirai added that the company established a special unit for the business in April.
While citing artificial intelligence and robots as fields that his company will focus on going forward, Hirai said that the newly-developed robot will open up a new business by combining hardware and services.
Although Hirai did not disclose the specifics of the new robot and its launch date, he said the company will aim to target companies, including factories and the logistics industry, with its robots in the future.
Sony began marketing the Aibo as the world’s first home robot in 1999. Although the first Aibo model had a high price tag of 250,000 yen (US$2,432), the robot, sold as a limited offer of 3,000 units, sold out within 20 minutes of going on sale.
Despite its overwhelming popularity, Sony halted the production of Aibo as part of restructuring efforts after the company plunged into financial difficulties. Sony then pulled the plug on its home robot business in 2006.
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