Anki's Vector robot brings us one step closer to 'Star Wars' Droids

Like Cozmo, Vector can also be a bit of a spunky jerk, which makes it all the more endearing. If you block its path, or pick it up, it could react like a frustrated child who doesn’t want to be bothered. But it’s still plenty smart: It won’t fall off edges, thanks to its four infra-red cliff sensors, and it’ll make its way back to its charger when the battery gets low. It can even play a game of Blackjack.

While it seems like an expensive toy at first, Anki co-founder and CEO Boris Sofman says it’ll get even smarter over time, since it has a constant connection to the cloud. Under the hood, Vector is powered by Qualcomm’s quad-core APQ8009 processor, which includes support for the robot’s AI capabilities, as well as its ultra-wide 120-degree HD camera.

Vector is Anki’s latest play to bring a robot into every home, Sofman tells Engadget. And while that might seem lofty, the company already had a huge success with Cozmo. Last year, it was the top selling toy on Amazon in the US, Canada and France. Anki has sold over 1.5 million robots so far, which includes Cozmo and its Overdrive racing cars. Sofman is also gearing up for another major product in 2020, which he hints will build on everything Anki has done so far.

Making progress with shipping products is a better way to bring robots into our lives than something like Honda’s humanoid ASIMO bot, Sofman said. That project was announced way back in the year 2000 (Honda had been exploring walking robots since 1986), and was last updated in 2011. In the end, ASIMO was never released and Honda killed it off in June. So long, robot butler.

Vector will cost $249 when it arrives on October 12th, but early adopters in the US can snag it for $199 through Anki’s new Kickstarter campaign until September 6th. Backers will also receive the robot a bit early on October 9th. Anki also plans to launch an SDK for Vector this winter, allowing users to train it in entirely new ways.

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