Our aim is to bring Artificial Intelligence out of labs and into people’s everyday lives. This blog is where we’ll share the stories, challenges and achievements that make this ambition such an interesting ride.
CEO & co-founder
Hey Vector — The Good Robot
Posted by Boris Sofman, CEO & co-founder, Anki | October 9th, 2018
Over the past few weeks, we’ve had a bit of fun with our Good Robot campaign, underlining the general theme that we believe robots will do more good than harm for humanity; although there will be risks, it’s in our power to control them. With every technological revolution (think back to when radio and television launched, or more recently, the age of the internet), people feared they would take away jobs, rip the fabric of our society apart, or even lead to the end of humanity. But in the end they helped create new ways for us to interact, connect with one another, and solve global problems, often in ways no one could have predicted.
With Anki’s diverse team and deep understanding and background in robotics, we don’t just get to imagine a future where we coexist with robots, we can help create it. The home robotics space is in its infancy, but we believe the launch of Vector this week plays a key role in helping to define it. For many of you who already have your Vector robots this week, we’re thrilled to have you join us at the beginning of this journey as the Vector you see today will be a much different robot in a month and even more different in a year from now.
While we’re still quite a few years away from living with characterful, helpful robots like Rosie from “The Jetsons,” we stand firm in our belief that there will be a robot in every home in the near future. The cost of critical robotics components - including sensors and location technologies, microcontrollers, motors, and cameras - is decreasing rapidly every year, while the ability to compute massive amounts of data in real time, coupled with incredible advancements in software and AI, has pushed robots near a tipping point in terms of function and capability.
But we know that function and capability alone won’t drive mass home robot adoption—emotional intelligence, i.e., personality, will be the third factor essential to ushering in a new era of human-robot interaction that will ultimately lead to a robot in every home.
Vector has been in development since 2016. He is an affordable, character-rich companion—a brand new category for home robots. He isn’t just technologically advanced; he represents a friendly, symbiotic future where robots and mankind live in peace. Working on Vector has been a journey of many firsts for us at Anki:
- He is our first social robot for the home that is always on and fully autonomous.
- Unlike our previous launches, we partnered with Kickstarter in the U.S, a community-focused platform with a tech-savvy, forward-thinking audience, to introduce Vector this year. We saw an overwhelming interest in people wanting a robot in their home. The backers made Vector the most funded robotics project in Kickstarter history!
- From a technical perspective, Vector is our first robot that’s not tethered to a smart device (his quad-core CPU gives him the brain-power he needs), is cloud-connected, and responds to voice commands as well as touch. He has the capability to evolve over many years.
- For the first time ever, we will see hundreds of thousands of robots in homes this holiday interacting and bringing joy to people around the world.
Vector’s made of some pretty sophisticated technology.
It’s also worth noting that many of you are just seeing the tip of the iceberg when it comes to unlocking Vector’s potential. The Vector that hits retail shelves this week will not be the same Vector that you interact with in the future. Part of the joy will be in watching him explore, learn, reveal his character and surprise you as he grows. Our roadmap of planned updates already extends years and is continually evolving with feedback from our community, in the same way that our toy robot, Cozmo, has evolved since his release in 2016.
That being said, our dev team is already cooking up new features and ways to make him feel more alive that’ll be rolled out in future updates. First and foremost, I’m excited to share that we’re working with Amazon to integrate Alexa into Vector; one of the top requests from our Kickstarter community. We’re in the early phases and hope to share more details soon on exact timing but we’re aiming for end of this year. In addition, for the upcoming December update, we’re improving upon and fine-tuning Vector’s personality as well as the depth of the interactive experiences between Vector and his owner including new voice-command capabilities.
But that’s not all. Features that we’re currently exploring for next year include pet detection, home monitoring, delivering messages, music recognition, and 360° camera, to name a few. And we’re confident in our ability to deliver timely updates that add new capabilities.
And if you’re a developer, hobbyist, or researcher, Vector becomes an even more compelling product. The upcoming Vector SDK will allow you to access all of his advanced hardware and software technologies to do new and amazing things with, from custom interactions to advanced research. And like our other developer platform, it will be free and open source.
Although there are a lot of unknowns as we move forward in the development of future home robots that span beyond entertainment, we are excited to have you on board for this wild ride with us, and we truly appreciate your support and feedback.
Price & Availability
Vector will officially hit store shelves this Friday for CA$329.99 and you’ll be able to get your hands on our robot exclusively at Best Buy Canada (including online). Vector will also be available in the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand.