LG’s new robots deliver food and double as shopping carts

Robots are hard. Softbank has pumped a bunch of money into them, and the best it’s come up with so far is Pepper, a friendly humanoid that stands outside of stores and restaurants, tablet in-hand. LG announced this time last year that it was planning to move before vacuuming cleaners, into a wider world of robotics, and thus far, its own products have followed a similar route.

Last year’s ‘bots were focused on guiding passengers around the airport and cleaning up after them. A trio of new devices are set to make their public debut at CES next week seem to fill similar niches. The company offered a sneak preview of the robots, all sporting the name name CLOi, in a press release today.

The porter robot is also designed specifically for a airport gig, handling check-in payments and delivering luggage to vehicles. A serving robot, meanwhile, is designed for airport lounges and hotels, using a built-in serving try to deliver food and drinks to guests. The third robot features a shopping basket and a barcode reader, along with a face displays shopping lists by way of a connected smartphone app.

Details are pretty scant at the moment — more to come next week at CES, I suppose. Of course, LG’s going to have to show off the ways in which their ‘bots make each of the tasks at hand more efficient. It’s tough to imagine many supermarkets plunking down the cash for a fully functioning robot if it’s not completely revolutionizing the shopping experience.

For some early adopters, the sheer novelty might be reason enough to invest in some wacky hardware, but that wears off pretty quickly. LG’s also tacked on some other tech buzzwords like “artificial intelligence” and “machine learning” in the release surrounding the announcement, but we’ll have to wait a week to find how all of that plays out here.

Published at Thu, 04 Jan 2018 19:09:10 +0000