Amazon Astro home robot
Released: September 2021
Amazon has launched Astro, a robot powered by the company's Alexa smart home technology and facial recognition that it says can patrol a home automatically, notify owners if it detects something unusual, and be used to check on pets when people are not in their homes.
Internal development documents and video recordings leaked to VICE suggest the robot may perform poorly and its person recognition capability is 'heavily flawed'.
The documents also reveal that Astro designers worry that the product is a 'disaster that's not ready for release' and that it may 'throw itself down stairs' 'if presented the opportunity'.
Sector: Consumer goods
Purpose: Strengthen home security
Technology: Robotics; Computer vision; Facial recognition
Issue: Privacy; Surveillance; Safety; Accuracy/reliablity; Dual/multi-use; Appropriateness/need
Transparency: Black box
Published: September 2021