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CES 2019 Device Blog: Day 3: Robots

by Ken Hyers | Jan 10, 2019

CES 2019, the world’s largest consumer electronic trade show is now taking place in Las Vegas, Nevada, US. The show scheduled from Jan 8 (Tue) to Jan 11 (Fri) 2019 has a large team of analysts from multiple services of Strategy Analytics in attendance, including smartphones, drones, robots, tablets, wearables, smart home, semiconductors and automotive.

Our Day 1 and 2 coverage and Pre show report can be accessed as below:

CES 2019 Device Blog: Day 3: Technologies (available here)

CES 2019 Device Blog: Day 2: Smartphones (available here)

CES 2019 Device Blog: Day 1: Smartphones (available here)

CES 2019 Preview report: Smartphones (available here)

As is becoming usual for CES, a number of new robots were previewed at the show. While many of the most exciting were prototypes, real world use cases have emerged for robots, in the home, stores and on the streets.

Robots

Ubtech

Ubtech, the Chinese maker of robotic toys, brought its newest robot, the Walker, to CES 2019. Unlike Ubtech’s robotic toys, the Walker is a prototype intended for showing off the company’s technology. As such it’s a bipedal robot with 36 actuators (the motors that control limb movement). The 5 foot tall, 170 pound robot can use its hands to grasp objects and can walk around, at least in a carefully controlled environment. Ubtech’s Walker utilizes a proprietary system for incorporating data from its various sensors in order to map its surroundings and choose a path. It supposedly also uses AI for facial recognition, though we would take that claim with a grain of salt, given the sheer number of products presented at CES that claim to be “AI powered”. Being a prototype, the use case for Walker is not clear, though Ubtech says it could “help users control” smart home devices. However, there are no plans in the near future to bring Walker to market.

Ubtech's Cruzr & Walker

The company also re-introduced another robot, Cruzr, at the show (both Walker and Cruzr have appeared, in different configurations, at previous CESs). Cruzr is a service robot with articulated arms and hands that rolls around on wheels. Equiped with upgraded processors, new servos and 4G LTE, Cruzr is intended to be used in the same way as Softbank’s Pepper robot, acting as a customer service ambassador and guide in commercial settings, such as a retail environment.

Samsung

Samsung debuted four robots at CES 2019. All are prototypes at this point, but the breadth of areas the company is looking at to cover in robotics, as well as the level of detail and fit and finish, indicate what an enormous tech leader like Samsung can accomplish when it turns its eyes on a segment like robotics.

Samsung Bot Care

The first robot, Bot Air, is a trash can shaped object that incorporates a filter in its top that can purify the air in a home. The robot has a display on one side that can show data (or appear as a pair of eyes) and can roll about the home. The robot can detect when air quality in a room is poor (for instance when you’ve burned the toast) and travel from room to room in a house cleaning up odors and particulates. Another robot, Bot Retail, is intended to work in restaurants and shops, acting as an ambassador and guide like Ubtech’s Cruzr (and Softbank’s Pepper).

GEMS

Samsung also introduced the Bot Care, a wheeled robot that can check a person’s blood pressure and heart beat. Following along on the theme of healthcare, Samsung introduced its GEMS platform, an exoskeleton-type robot that can strap around the lower body and is intended to help provide mobility for people with injuries or to help with physical therapy.

 

PuduTech

One of the most visible emerging new segments for robots are for delivery. In cities around the world robots are being used to deliver goods and products, most often take-out food.  Shenzhen, China based PuduTech introduced its latest delivery robot at CES 2019, HOLABOT.

Pudu_photo_1

HOLABOT is a tech-laden delivery robot intended to overcome many of the hazards of navigation that delivery robots encounter when they transition from city sidewalks and attempt to move inside buildings. The HOLABOT uses LiDAR, a RGBD camera, ultrasonic sensors and other sensing technology, to map its surroundings and navigate around objects. It uses speech to communicate with and facial recognition to identify people. The HOLABOT is intended to be used for delivery within buildings, including multi-story buildings.

 

Strategy Analytics sees significant growth opportunities for robots in both the home and professional setting. We estimate that sales of service robots will increase by 20% between 2018 and 2023, with personal service robots up 150% over the period. As humans become more comfortable with depending on robots and as the technology powering them improves while the cost of the devices decreases, we will increasingly interact with them on a day-to-day basis.

 

This concludes our review of important announcements for Day 3 of CES 2019. Come back tomorrow for additional coverage of the show.

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