Amazon’s new invention the robot Astro was launched at the recent Amazon 2021 event which presented as a cooperative who you can’t assist but looks very cute. However, a fresh report proposes that Astro’s existence in your home could be more disturbing than its outside shell would have you trust.
The evidence issued by Vice’s Motherboard- which it claims has been sourced from leaked internal development documents and video footages of conferences about Astro-shows that the new robot assistant may have more than a few faults. No doubt Amazon is not agreeing with all these claims and confirmed that the robot has been thoroughly tested to confirm its safety.
In the report, one developer also quoted by saying” Astro is awful and will almost surely toss itself down a flight of stairs if offered the chance”. They went on to say that the robot’s person-detection is untrustworthy which definitely impact its usefulness as a home security device and its parts look too delicate for their intended purposes.
This delicateness would be a big issue for the mast camera which allows Astro to costs around $999 to scan its surroundings from higher up; this has deceptively been known to lock up while stretched, which would make it problematic to ship the robot back to Amazon for repair.
Mentioning all these issues the developer also added that pushing the robot as an accessibility device is on kind of nonsense and also dangerous for anyone who really relies on it. According to Motherboard, other Astro developers shared almost the same worries.
We reached out to an Amazon, and the spokesperson told us that these characteristics of Astro’s performance, mast and safety systems are simply not perfect.
Astro went through hard testing on both safety and quality points of view, including tens of thousands of hours of testing with beta participants. This includes inclusive testing on Astro’s unconventional safety system, which is specially designed to evade objects, detect stairs and stop the device where and when required.
Analysis: is Astro worth trading your privacy for?
Whether the issue raised by developers shared by Motherboard is true or not, some consumers may have already issues with Amazon Astro from a privacy perspective. This is one thing to have an Amazon Echo that might have worries about privacy in your living room, but it’s definitely another experience to have such a device roaming around your home.
No doubt Astro will track you’re a bit more than any other static device and will have to store a huge data to work effectively. As other leaked Amazon documents clarify, Astro needs to make a precise map of your home and figure out chock points where it’s likely to bump into a human, wall or pet.
This clearly says that the robot will learn where family members gather and how they move around and will be scanning those regions with its cameras to look out for threats. This robot will also learn to interact with you and will store visual ID info to recognize you.
Some people may have issues as robots are taking some personal data to store on it and if it turns out that the robot works as unwell as these leaks suggest, for many people the risks would compensate the rewards.
On this part, Amazon has enlightened that Astro includes several features to improve privacy. By defining outbounds Zones you can let the robot know which areas of your home are off-limits and you can use Do Not Disturb features to tell Astro you need to spend some time alone.
Like echo devices, Astro’s microphone and camera have an off button. When someone press that button the robot’s camera, bezel, microphones and all sensors are disconnected which means this device can’t capture and record videos in the meantime.
You can say any data is poised will be stored safely, and any data that is sent to Amazon’s servers are encoded in transit. You can read more details about this robot on the official amazon webpage! If you have any questions you can ask us under the comment section.