Amazon announced a home robot called Astro during its fall hardware event today, September 28th, which is designed to serve as a helpful mobile assistant that can navigate around the main floor of your home. Amazon promises Astro will be able to patrol your home while you’re away, carry small objects from room to room (as long as a human places the object in its storage compartment), follow a person around with its periscope camera while on a video call, play music, and play games with children, as well as carry out a bevy of other small tasks. It’s essentially an Echo Show 10 on wheels, complete with Alexa support, mixed with some of the expectations of a robot vacuum sans vacuuming — room assignment, navigation, and self-charging via a dock.
The Astro is being made in small quantities to start, as Amazon figures out exactly what the robot will be capable of in a larger amount of people’s homes, so it’s starting it off as an invite-only product. The Alexa-enabled assistant robot will ultimately cost $1,449.99, but it’s available as part of Amazon’s Day 1 Editions program for $999.99 and comes bundled with a six-month trial of Ring Protect Pro service. You can submit invite requests on Amazon, and the company has indicated that it will begin granting invitations and shipping Astro devices to US customers “later this year.”
Amazon’s new, Alexa-equipped home robot is designed to live with you and support small tasks, essentially amounting to a smart display / virtual assistant on wheels. For the time being, however, it’s invite-only as part of the Amazon Day 1 Editions program.
For those interested in the invite, be aware that clicking the big yellow button on the Amazon listing submits the request and brings up a survey with numerous advisories and inquiries about your living space, which can help you assess whether you can accommodate Astro’s various limitations. To start, Amazon asks you to indicate if your home has certain physical features or layouts. The first set of home interior features Amazon lists are “compatible with Astro, but may require special attention during setup.” These include:
- Frameless windows or mirrors that extend to the floor
- Glass coffee tables or translucent acrylic furniture
- A space greater than 3,500 square feet where Astro is to be used
The next feature is not compatible with Astro, but compatibility may come in the future:
- Ramps between spaces or over stairs
The remaining features Amazon lists are not compatible with Astro. They are as follows:
- One or more steps down with a curved top edge
- A sunken area with a 90-degree inside corner
- Flooring transitions thicker than 1.375 inches or 3.5 centimeters
- Glossy black floors
If you forget to fill out this survey right away, your email confirmation from Amazon will prompt you to complete it later.
Update September 28th, 4:17PM ET: Added details regarding Astro’s various mobility restrictions as taken from Amazon’s invite survey.