In the middle of televisions, laptops and other connected speakers, CES is also the opportunity to meet face to face with robots of all kinds. In recent years, major consumer electronics brands such as LG and Sony have put robots in the spotlight in their presentations. Equally exciting are the young robotics companies working on niche applications. Here’s a preview of what’s in store for 2019.
The best digital friends:
The robot we’re looking forward to meeting at CES this year is Lovot, a new companion to the Japanese startup Groove X. The founder of Groove X, Kaname Hayashi, is none other than the creator of the Pepper robot that everyone knows.
In an interview with CNET more than two years ago, Hayashi described a robot designed to combat the loneliness he and his team were working on. This robot is Lovot. With his lazy little baby tunes and puppy eyes, Lovot can move independently on retractable wheels and interact with humans through sound, touch and physical movement. It is designed for one and only thing: to be loved.
Another companion robot that we are eager to discover at CES is an adorable pet called Zoetic AI’s KiKi. If the Sony Aibo failed to soften you at CES 2018 because you are more cats than dogs, then KiKi could conquer you. With his feline style, KiKi is a stationary office companion just waiting to be petted.
Robots at your service:
The CES 2019 will also see a wide variety of service robots: robot vacuums, business robots designed to help you in public places, such as shops and airports.
LG will still talk a lot about robotics this year, with a new version of its CLOi SuitBot exoskeleton that relieves the lower limbs when carrying heavy loads. We will also see new versions of PorterBot, ServeBot and CartBot that benefit from the latest developments in artificial intelligence.
Pepper, from Softbank, will be back at CES, but he will not be alone. Softbank will show how two different robots can work together to speed up automated activities. So, we’ll see Pepper collaborating with Tally from Simbe Robotics.
Other forms of robotics
We will not see that conventional robots at CES 2019. There will also be a bunch of drones, robotic arms and vehicles that will often be used to show new skills and developments in artificial intelligence.
After unveiling four robots at last year’s CES, Honda returns this year with more robots, most of which are improved versions of the 2018 models.
The Honda Autonomous Work Vehicle is a rugged, self-contained miniature car designed to tackle challenging terrain and dangerous environments by providing assistance to firefighters and rescue workers.