LIVE FROM CES 2017; LAS VEGAS: LG put the focus on Artificial Intelligence (AI) for home applications, announcing the launch of Hub Robot, its version of a personal assistant that will step up competition with rivals in this emerging area of consumer technology.
Hub Robot forms part of a new line-up of intelligent robots released by the company at this year’s CES, which also includes a new Airport Guide Robot, an updated robot vacuum, and another designed for lawn mowing.
In a press conference, the South Korean firm’s David VanderWall, VP marketing – home appliances and consumer electronics, said AI and machine learning was becoming increasingly important for its smart application efforts, with Hub Robot serving as something of a home gateway, integrated with other smart home devices, and allows users to talk the device.
The device initially seems like a more humanised version of Amazon’s Echo, with an actual face displayed, but it is worth noting it actually uses Amazon’s Alexa voice recognition technology. It will also offer competition to Google Home, and other rivals investing in the AI ecosystem.
Among its features, LG said the robot “takes the concept of smart home to the next level”, allowing users to complete household tasks through voice, and offer the ability to play music, set alarms, and get weather and traffic upgrades. The hub will also be complemented with mini robots that can be placed in other rooms of the house.
The Airport Guide Robot, meanwhile, forms part of the company’s efforts to provide similar intelligence outside the home. It will be first introduced in Seoul’s international airport, and will work as an intelligent information system for travellers.
Robots aside, the company also took the wraps off the Smart InstaView refrigerator, which provides an in-built intelligent personal assistant through Amazon Alexa, and other smart features. When the fridge is running low on supplies, users can utilise a touchscreen on the appliance to restock directly from – yes, you guessed it – Amazon.