Amazon’s Home Robot Assistant, This is Astro robot assistant. Amazon’s exclusive, invite-only robot assistant with various tasks in your home. It patrols your halls at night and even delivers your drinks. We’ve had Astro in the workplace for just over a month. Subjecting it to rigorous testing to determine if Amazon’s robot assistant justifies the cost. At its most basic level, Astro is Alexa on wheels. It’s the main way you interact with it, and anything Alexa can do well, Astro can do.
Table of Contents:
- Astro’s Use Cases Powered by Intelligent Mobility
- Astro’s Impressive Obstacle Course Performance
- Astro’s Smart Navigation Triumphs
- Pushing Astro’s Limits: A Remarkable Journey
- Meet Astro: Your Adorable Robot Assistant Companion
- Home Security Robot Assistant Astro’s Monitoring Features
- The Cargo Bin with a 10-Pound Limit
- Robot Assistant Dog Treat Dispensers to Cupholders
- Astro Power Bank with Self-Recharge Capability
- Robot Assistant Astro’s Screen and Speaker System
- Limitations of Robot Assistant Astro
Astro’s Use Cases Powered by Intelligent Mobility
There are five major use cases for Astro robot assistant, and each one of them is built on its standout feature, which is its ability to move around intelligently. Amazon has packed this thing with the following:
- Advanced Algorithms
That can process everything in real time. Amazon’s Astro robot assistant can navigate its environment better than any other consumer-grade robot assistant I’ve ever seen. It is faster, going up to 2 miles per hour. It moves with this sense of precision and confidence that makes it feel more alive. It’s had no issues navigating our typical studio environment, which consists of tripods and stands everywhere. I decided and needed to give Astro’s robot assistant a real challenge.
Astro’s Impressive Obstacle Course Performance
We set out to create an obstacle course specifically designed to challenge Astro. We initiated the process by encircling it with a ring of cones, leaving only a narrow exit. This posed a minor challenge for one of our robot vacuums. However, once the Astro robot assistant recognized the situation, it promptly located the exit and proceeded to the next stage.
Astro adeptly maneuvered around the cones we had strategically placed in its path. Finally reaching the most intricate part of the course a narrow passage followed by a sharp turn.
Astro’s Smart Navigation Triumphs
Although Astro did require a moment to figure out this segment, it appeared to use this time for surveying the path ahead. It decisively made its move, heading directly toward the left exit. Perhaps pondering the purpose of the scattered cones, Astro raced toward the finish line with unwavering confidence and remarkable speed.
From a technical perspective, one of our other lidar-equipped robot assistant managed to complete the course as well.
However, it resorted to a form of cheating by pushing through the cones instead of navigating around them. This underscores Astro’s remarkable intelligence in navigating uncharted terrain.
Pushing Astro’s Limits: A Remarkable Journey
Astro hadn’t encountered the studio’s obstacle course previously, although it was well-acquainted with our studio in general. We aimed to raise the stakes and see how far we could push its capabilities.
I asked Astro to follow me. It turns out that if you ask it to, Astro will follow you anywhere, even into uncharted territory. This is where Astro impressed me the most. It hadn’t seen daylight until this point. Still, it is able to follow me down an accessibility ramp and make the sharp left turn without any problem.
They followed me on the streets. It was detected when it off about to fall off a previously unseen curb.
They even crossed a super bumpy road, something I’m sure Amazon’s engineers never designed it for. It really felt like I was just walking my robot assistant pet, bringing us to Robot Assistant Pet.
Your Adorable Robot Assistant Astro Companion
Our first major use case for Astro goes beyond what Amazon typically highlights in its marketing materials. Astro serves as a charming robot assistant companion with a small, unobtrusive presence.
Its animated facial expressions and endearing sounds give it an undeniable cuteness. Functionally, it exhibits dog-like behavior, warmly welcoming me each morning by recognizing our faces.
Within our workspace, it has identified its favorite spots where it often joins Alexa. I regularly find it in my office during the mornings. Furthermore, Astro surprises us with playful tricks, such as mimicking different animals or pretending to be a miniature vacuum cleaner. Its affable nature is genuinely endearing.
While this aspect alone might not justify its price tag of sixteen hundred dollars, it’s a delightful option for individuals living in pet-restricted apartments or parents seeking a pet-like companion without the added responsibilities.
Home Security Robot Assistant Astro’s Monitoring Features
It’s the second home monitoring use case that probably will move the needle for most people and Astro’s ability to be your home monitor.
Astro is equipped with multiple cameras, one above the screen and a periscope camera that rises 42 inches from the floor. This allows Astro to provide house surveillance even when you’re away, enhancing home assistant Alexa with the home security robot assistant Astro. Additionally, with a Ring Pro subscription, it can perform automated routines. However, what I appreciate most is the app’s ability to configure various viewpoints.
I can’t even count how many times over the years, I’ve had to turn my car around to see if I turned the stove off or if my wife had unplugged her hair straightener, but with Astro, that’s no longer an issue.
Just go into the app and have Astro check on it for me. Maybe not worth sixteen hundred dollars.
The Cargo Bin with a 10-Pound Limit
The Cargo Bin Case is centered around its compact cargo bin, which not only efficiently carries your items and follows you but also leverages the robot assistant Astro’s facial recognition capabilities for in-house deliveries.
Amazon hasn’t provided an official weight limit for this cargo bin. In our tests, it handled five pounds with ease. However, at 10 pounds, Astro exhibited some instability, causing King to wobble intermittently. It managed to complete the journey from point A to point B but with less grace.
At 15 pounds, things took a turn for the worse as Astro seemed to panic, spinning erratically as if trying to shed the weight.
Unofficially, it appears that the cargo bin’s maximum recommended weight is 10 pounds, possibly less on rug or carpeted surfaces.
Robot Assistant Dog Treat Dispensers to Cupholders
Accessories for the cargo bin span from a dog treat dispenser to Tupperware. Amazon also includes a cupholder attachment with Astro, although it seems best suited for bottles with caps due to its slim slots. However, we couldn’t resist a test. We filled an open cup with iced cold Gatorade, and despite Astro’s sharp and aggressive turns, it impressively kept every drop secure.
It was on our smooth concrete floors, but still pretty impressive.
Now, having a little bin on wheels may not be worth the price on its own. I think, again, some people are going to find value in it. Whether it’s just for holding in your drink as you clean your house or for having a stash of baby wipes on demand for a busy parent.
Astro Power Bank with Self-Recharge Capability
The fourth Power Bank case for Astro is my favorite. It may sound ridiculous, but you can technically use Astro as a power bank on wheels.
Behind the cargo bin is a USB-C port, and while it’s not the most powerful, it peaked at 7.5 watts. It managed to charge the iPhone 14 Plus from 1% to 12% in 10 minutes. However, Astro did lose 10% of its battery during the process.
The good news is that Astro can recharge itself when needed, a feature no other power bank offers. It charges quite rapidly within 10 minutes, giving Astro over 30 additional batteries.
This might make Astro one of the priciest power banks, but imagine a game controller flashing a low battery warning during an intense gaming session calling Astro for help would be a lifesaver.
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Robot Assistant Astro’s Screen and Speaker System
Last speaker system, but not least, use case number five for Astro. It’s basically an Echo Show 10 on Wheels. It’s got a 10-inch screen, which means you could watch YouTube or go on video calls with it. Although honestly, the viewing angles really aren’t ideal for that.
More practically, it’s got this 2.1 speaker system. You can have Astro follow you around while playing music that actually sounds pretty good. The speaker gets loud. It’s louder than the second-gen Homepod, although, to be clear. I still prefer the quality of the Homepod’s audio. But at least compared to something like the Homepod mini, it’s not only louder, but it also has significantly more bass.
Again, on its own, probably not worth the money, but there is something special about having your Bluetooth speaker essentially follow you around and then go and charge anytime it runs low on battery, combined with all of the other use cases that Astro brings to the table.
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Limitations of Robot Assistant Astro
We haven’t talked about any of the downsides, and there are downsides for one:
Astro can’t go up or down stairs, which if you don’t live in a one-story house. Basically makes it half as appealing.
Second, the software with Astro can be kind of buggy. Sometimes the app crashes. You just need to restart Astro to get it back to normal, and then there have been multiple instances where Astro has gotten stuck on something overnight and had its battery run out.
There is definitely, a lot of room for improvement Astro robot assistant is far from perfect, and even if it was perfect. I do think that with the limited set of use cases for most people the price would be justified. At the same time, I really where Astro is going it’s the first helper home robot assistant that I’ve ever used and somehow even though Astro’s personality is pretty limited it has grown on me to the point.