Gita a robot that can follow him and carry 40 pounds worth of things.
Josmar Taveras, USA TODAY
Consumer-focused personal robots have an uneven history.
In 2017, the Jibo was named as the world's first home social robot, but eventually failed soon after. Bosch stabbed creating a rolling robot called Kuri in 2018, and months later the product was a failure.
Now another company is struggling to launch a new yet familiar version of personal service machines.
Instead of keeping your company at home, the gita (pronounced Jee-Tah) wants to help you use your hands free as you walk down the street to the supermarket or visit your neighbors. Like the name, which means "ride" in Italian, the robotic valet is for short trips.
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Launched by the Piaggio Group, which introduced the world to Vespa, the cool gadget uses five cameras to view it, track it and carry up to 40 pounds of its belongings for four hours.
It's similar to those robotic smart bags that follow behind you at the airport, but with a totally different exterior design. Imagine an oversized TOD PODS container, but on wheels. This is what Gita looks like in the main orange color.
Imagine having a high tech box tracking your cargo inside. (Photo: Piaggio Fast Forward)
It is round and robust, but relatively agile and intuitive. The robotic helper is a joy to get involved with, like a puppy, but there are some quirks.
Operating gita is simple. You just press a button to turn it on, a button for cameras to scan your legs and you're done. In fact, it does a good job of following you and recognizing when you change direction.
Its movement is strangely natural. When you accelerate, you are a little behind before trying to reach it, and when you stop, it stops – usually. Manufacturers of the 50 pound robot say the gita operates best on hard surfaces. However, it cannot rise.
In a way, the gita looks like a pet you don't have to feed. It seems to cheer up the moment you turn it on and fall to the ground after you turn it off.
"It's the first robot you've driven – doing something you've been doing since childhood … walking," said Jeffrey Schnapp, co-founder of Piaggio Fast Forward. "No small screen to distract you from the world, no joystick, no need to examine a heavy tech manual, no voice commands."
The Gita can roll on light slopes and accompany a person walking at speeds of up to 10 km / h. (Photo: Piaggio Fast Forward)
A sound and light system will let you know if you are not randomly paired or need a load. And an app lets you share your robot with your "team" so they can follow them too. As for privacy, gita does not record photos or videos and has no way to identify who is following, according to the company.
It also has a speaker, so your gita can carry candy and play theme music while you take the kids to play or treats.
However, it did not seem to enjoy tight spaces. And it can be very complicated to operate in busy areas of the subway, partly because a large number of people can divert you from the course and partly because many people keep you from asking what the hell is going on.
Today's US tech reporter Ed Baig tested the gita in 2017 when it was It is still a prototype. Baig said, "The gita certainly impressed passersby a lot as they walked down bustling Madison Avenue in New York."
Finally, having the technology intuitively behind you takes some getting used to. You can't help but look back to ensure you are following, such as monitoring a child.
The $ 3,250 robot will be available on November 18 at Mygita.com.
Follow Dalvin Brown on Twitter: @Dalvin_Brown.
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