Aibo: Sony’s $2,900 Robot Dog Aims To Become Your Favorite Pooch Come September

Sony has already sold more than 20,000 Aibo units in Japan, but it hopes to do even better business in the United States.

Sony Aibo set to hit US stores in September.
Alex Wong / Getty Images

Sony has already sold more than 20,000 Aibo units in Japan, but it hopes to do even better business in the United States.

Sony is getting increasingly serious about making your next pet.

Yes, you heard that right. The Japanese company, which has already given the world some of its most loved technological inventions for the consumer market, launched a much-advanced version of its robot dog, Aibo, the first prototype of which was created more than a couple of decades earlier. Sony has already sold more than 20,000 units of Aibo in Japan, and on Thursday, it announced that the product would be available for sale in the U.S. market in September.

So what can Aibo really do? As it turns out, the small pooch can accomplish quite a lot of things. Apart from being responsive to your touch, reacting to your voice commands, or being able to shake hands with you, and moving its ears back and forth, Aibo is essentially a robot with a personality. Sony contends that it has used all of its integrated technology to help Aibo identify up to 100 people at once, while at the same time helping it accomplish a slew of robotic tasks like taking photographs, answering calls, and mapping the length and breadth of your house so that you don’t have to get up every time you want something done. You can use your mobile phone for controlling Aibo, to the extent that the dog’s gender will also be your choice.

What is perhaps the biggest selling point for Sony is the fact that no two Aibos are alike, meaning that the robotic dog continues to update its AI infrastructure with time. It will adapt to the personality and behavior of its owners, Sony Electronics president & COO Mike Fasulo said, making it one of the most advanced robots available for consumers, according to Engadget.

“Aibo is such a remarkable feat when you look at it holistically. Not only does it incorporate many of our core technologies across many parts of our company — including image sensing; artificial intelligence; advanced robotics; sound and language recognition engines; OLED displays for eyes; cameras for geography and navigation — it’s all of that in one, in addition to a deep learning device.”

American consumers will get a bunch of accessories and subscription to Sony’s AI cloud for three years, where Aibo would store all of its memories and new tricks over time. Sony believes the dog’s complete array of abilities will become clearer only when consumers actually begin to spend time with it, allowing Aibo to absorb information before it can begin processing it and making informed decisions.

Aibo will be sold for a whopping $2,900 a unit, easily making it the most expensive pooch available in the market. But Sony is under no pretensions that the robot dog is meant for everyone, saying that the company would have accomplished its task with Aibo if some early adopters make the most of its technology.