Amazon’s Astro is a Household Robot That Puts Alexa on Wheels, Here’s How Much It’s Priced

The Amazon Astro robot can autonomously drive around your home and detect different household members and pets.


Amazon is putting Alexa on wheels. The company announced a new robot called Astro yesterday, which uses Alexa to communicate with people and has a large screen that displays emotions. The screen and camera are set up on top of a wheelbase, and a new computer vision powered feature called visual ID allows the robot to recognise different members in a household. Amazon says the visual ID is stored on-device and won’t be sent to the cloud, thereby ensuring privacy. The robot is priced at a whopping $1499.99 (over Rs. 1 lakh) and an introductory price of $999.99, and will be sold only in the US right now.

Further, Astro stands at two feet high and weighs just under 10 kgs. Amazon also said that the robot can navigate autonomously around the house and uses sensors and advanced software to detect dynamic changes in the home, like a new carpet on the floor or new furniture you may have installed. It also has active and passive braking, meaning it can come to a sudden stop if a pet comes in its way or if it detects stairs.

The robot has five different motors inside, housed inside a plastic shell. Two of these motors power the wheels on Astro, while one lowers and raises the periscope camera fitted on it.  The remaining two allow the robot to tilt and twist its face, that is, the screen fitted on it. It also uses the screen to display emotions, which Amazon hopes will help make the robot a part of the household. The company also said that Astro has “expressive tones” which should evoke emotions like empathy around users.

Astro’s autonomous features will also allow it to follow the user around the home while playing music or movies on its screen. You can even take an Alexa-enabled call from a friend or family member and speak to them while the speaker follows you around. And of course, it will be able to control smart home devices, and provide information that Alexa speakers already do.