LG's robo-helper fleet rolls into CES
LG has arrived at CES with not one, but four robo-assistants designed to help around the home, indoors and out, and in public places like airports. Whereas the two home-focused robots are designed to form a central internet of things hub and keep the lawn in nice trim, respectively, the other two are intended for airports, where they can help travelers and keep things clean.
The internet of things (IoT) has been making its presence felt in recent years at CES, but this year the focus is greater than ever. In addition to the various devices looking to join IoT networks, there are numerous offerings looking to stake a claim as the hub in the home at the center of it all. LG's effort is the aptly-named Hub Robot that is designed to help users manage all other connected devices and appliances in the home.
With the integration of Amazon's Alexa voice recognition technology, users can control their various smart devices through the robot using voice commands, while its interactive display can provide feedback in the form of facial expressions or display things like the contents of the fridge or recipes accompanied by step-by-step audio instructions.
The Hub Robot is also designed to respond using body language, with the ability to swivel in place and nod in response to simple yes/no questions. It will keep tabs on the various comings and goings and habits of the members of the household and, with the ability to distinguish between various family members, can also be programmed with custom greetings for different individuals.
The robot is intended to be placed in a central location, such as the kitchen or living room, and because it can't be everywhere at once, LG plans to introduce mini robots that can provide extra sets of eyes and ears in other parts of the house. These will also come with a visual display and act as extensions of the Hub Robot and perform many of the same functions.
Moving outside, LG has developed the Lawn Mowing Robot. This follows numerous lawn-mowing robots released in recent years and leverages the experience LG gained in developing its HOM-BOT vacuum cleaner to keep the grass trimmed. Packed with various sensors and bumpers, the Lawn Mowing Robot is able to keep track of its location and the location of all obstacles in sight at all times.
But LG isn't just sending robots into the home, it's also targeting public spaces like airports with the Airport Guide Robot and the Airport Cleaning Robot. As their names suggest, the former, which will soon be on duty at Seoul's Incheon International Airport, acts as a guide for travelers and can answer questions in English, Chinese, Japanese and Korean. It can also provide travel information by scanning a person's ticket and will even escort travelers to their gate or other airport location.
LG has also upped the size and capabilities of its robotic vacuums for the home with its Airport Cleaning Robot. The industrial-sized robotic vacuum features a large-capacity dust canister and wields multiple brushes and motors to handle various surfaces, from carpet to tiles. It also packs an array of sensors, including LIDAR and sensitive bumpers, and multiple cameras to detect obstacles and ensure it doesn't get in the way in crowded airports. The Airport Cleaning Robot also makes use of simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) technology to keep tabs on its own location at all times.
LG is yet to announce pricing or availability details for any of its new robo-helpers.