Sony’s Aibo is getting a new lease on life. The robotic pet, first introduced near the turn of the century, will be relaunched in 2018 as an in-home robot of sorts according to a recent report from Nikkei.
Aibo, short for Artificial Intelligence Robot, was introduced by Sony in 1999 as a robotic toy that resembled a dog. The company produced new models in successive years but in 2006, production was discontinued due to a combination of technological roadblocks, financial issues and waning consumer interest.
Sony just last year hinted at the possibility of developing robots for industrial use. In recent months, however, the company reportedly concluded that breaking into that market would be too difficult as there are already a number of established players on the field in possession of high market shares.
With the recent resurgence in artificial intelligence, Sony clearly feels it’s the right time to revive Aibo and make another play in the home-use robot space.
Unlike the original, the second coming of Aibo will be more like today’s smart speakers. Equipped with AI and Internet connectivity, the robot will be able to control connected home appliances with voice commands much like speakers currently offered by Amazon and Google.
It’ll have more in common with canines than just its shape as Sony reportedly plans to implement technology that’ll allow it to mimic dog-like behavior.
The Japanese publication also reports that Sony is bringing together developers that worked on the original robotic pet to help create the new device. Look for it to arrive next spring.