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News18 » Auto
2-min read

Toyota's Kirobo Mini Companion Robot Goes on Sale

Since its conceptual debut, the little digital guy has learned some new AI tricks. It can now look at you when you talk to him and he's able to respond to a question with natural language.

AFP Relaxnews

Updated:November 24, 2017, 3:01 PM IST
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Toyota's Kirobo Mini Companion Robot Goes on Sale
The Toyota Kirobo Mini companion robot. (Image: Toyota)
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As of Thursday, Toyota's incredibly smart and very cute robot -- that wants nothing more than to be your friend -- is officially on sale at all Toyota dealerships across Japan.

When it was first unveiled at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, the Kirobo Mini companion robot was one of the strangest and most outlandish concepts on display from any carmaker. At just 10cm tall when seated in the palm of its owner's hand, the cute robot, akin to a favorite stuffed toy, was pitched by Toyota as a digital communication partner conceived to keep people company and feeling connected by interacting with them via facial expressions and gestures. And the reason that it was so small was that it would be easier for adults to take with them to keep them happy as they went about their daily routines.

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And now, two years later, Kirobo is posed to go mainstream, in its native Japan at least.

Since its conceptual debut, the little digital guy has learned some new AI tricks. It can now look at you when you talk to him and he's able to respond to a question with natural language.

What's more, thanks to an accompanying app, he's fully connected to your car and your home -- if it's of the smart variety -- and this deeper connection allows the robot to learn even more about the owner and respond to his and her moods, but also to help them keep tabs on their vehicle and on which systems are on and off at home.

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In other words, it's like a Google Home or Android Echo system with a humanoid face. It can tell you how much fuel is left in your car when you ask it nicely and will remind you if you left home without locking the doors.

However, as well as offering companionship, Kirobo can also help you extend your social circle via a new web platform that allows other Kirobo owners to share their experiences living with the robot.

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Kirobo is on sale now and will cost 42,984 Yen ($386), plus a 350 Yen ($3) monthly subscription in order to use the accompanying app.

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| Edited by: Ayushmann Chawla
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