It’s time to say goodbye to Kuri — a home robot that was essentially an Echo on wheels. Mayfield Robotics, which designed the bot, announced today that it’s pausing production and will refund customers who placed preorders. The company seems to be putting most of the blame on Bosch, which supported the company through its Startup Platform program. Mayfield says the company couldn’t find a “business fit” within Bosch to “support and scale” the business. It goes on to say that it doesn’t know what “the coming months will bring.” It sounds like Kuri itself might not be happening, but Mayfield as a whole still exists.
When I first tested Kuri at CES in 2017, the robot didn’t have much functionality. It could drive around and be controlled like a remote control car, but at the time, it wasn’t able to respond to voice commands or react. It acted more or less like a moving Bluetooth speaker. Still, it’s always a bummer to see a product fail. It was obvious that a lot of work went into Kuri, but the unfortunate reality is that smart assistant products are significantly cheaper than home robots and can do essentially the same tasks. Companies in this space need to figure out how to justify their robot’s cost and functionalities to succeed.