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Meet LG’s multitasking, pet-sitting, AI-powered home robot: more helper, less Terminator

In brief: In what could be the first example of an AI and robot integration that isn’t going to steal jobs or kill us all, LG has revealed a distinctly non-threatening bot that can perform a multitude of tasks as it wanders around your house, including keeping an eye on your pets when you’re not home.

LG’s smart home artificial intelligence agent, set to be shown off at CES in a couple of weeks, uses its two legs and set of wheels to navigate a user’s home independently.

LG says the robot is a home manager and companion rolled into one, able to use its speaker and various sensors to gather real-time environmental data, including temperature, humidity and indoor air quality. The bot can also interact with smart home devices and even autonomously patrol a home when an owner is away, sending notifications if it discovers an open window or light that has been left on. One feature that could appeal to pet owners is the robot’s ability to allow animal parents to see and care for their pets remotely and send alerts if any unusual activity is detected.

“Have you ever seen Megan?”

The companion part refers to the robot greeting users when they return home. LG says it can discern their emotions by analyzing their voice and facial expressions, and select music or other content to suit their mood. That presumably means it’ll play something to boost your emotional state, rather than blasting out Radiohead and sending sad people into a spiral of depression.

The robot can also perform digital assistant-style tasks such as providing personal schedules and giving people reminders.

The AI agent is equipped with Qualcomm’s Robotics RB5 Platform, a software and hardware package designed to support the development of smart, power-efficient, and cost-effective robots. This enables features such as face and voice recognition via the camera and microphone. LG says the robot can move, learn, comprehend, and engage in complex conversations.

LG says it is positioning the AI agent as a way to free customers of household chores, part of its “Zero Labor Home” vision.

No word on how much LG’s robot will cost. Amazon’s similar Astro robot is $1,450, so don’t be surprised if LG’s bot is priced around the same mark or higher.

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