Meet the US$2,800 Amazon Alexa-powered robot that can order you a pizza
China’s Qihan launches the Sanbot Nano humanoid robot at the IFA tech show in Berlin
An Amazon Alexa-powered humanoid robot could be wheeling its way to a home near you.
Chinese technology firm Qihan launched the Sanbot Nano on Thursday equipped with Amazon’s voice assistant that is featured in its Echo speaker.
The 2.7-foot robot will go on sale in October for US$2,800, and will be available in English and German. Those are the languages that Alexa currently understands.
Qihan’s Sanbot Nano is equipped with 50 sensors that helps it avoid obstacles, hear voices, and recognise when someone enters the room.
Users can access all the features that Alexa enables such as controlling lights in the home or ordering pizza.
Amazon first introduced Alexa on its Echo smart speaker in 2014. But the e-commerce giant’s strategy has been to license Alexa out to other vendors to get the voice assistant across several devices and even home appliances.
This is Qihan’s first robot designed for the home. The company’s previous humanoid models have been put to use in businesses. For example, the Sanbot Elf was used by the Dubai Police to interview potential candidates.
“Sanbot Nano’s customised capabilities will make every family feel like they have a personal assistant,” says Ryan Yu, chief marketing officer at Qihan.
Qihan is playing in an increasingly competitive but young market of humanoid robots that could grow quickly. The global personal robots market is expected to see average yearly growth of 37.8 per cent between 2017 and 2022, reaching US$34.1 billion in size, according to Research and Markets data.
Robots are slowly being trialled in sectors such as hospitality and policing, but are yet to take off in the home. Other competitors like SoftBank with its Pepper robot are also trying to crack the market.