Sony’s Robot Dog Aibo is Headed to The US For a Cool $2,899


Following the brand’s relaunch in Japan last year, Sony announced today that it’s going to release its robot dog Aibo in the US. The new edition will be available to purchase in September for $2,899 and will be bundled with three years of Sony’s AI Cloud service as well as a variety of toys, including a pink ball, an “Aibone,” paw pads, and a charging station.

According to Sony, the new gadget will use sophisticated cameras and sensors to map your house, so it can easily move around and go to its charging station on its own. It will also recognize up to 100 faces and remember interactions with people, allowing its artificial intelligence engine to develop a unique personality that changes over time.

The AI Cloud allows Aibo to send its daily activity back to Sony’s servers, which helps the owners stay connected with their Aibo over Wi-Fi or LTE. No two Aibo companion robots are the same. All those features won’t come cheap: A bundle package for the robot dog will cost $2,899, around the same price as some purebred puppies.

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.

While Japanese customers can pick up Aibo without any cloud subscription, Sony decided to make it a bundle in America so that buyers will get the most out of it. Presales start in September, with deliveries expected in time for the holidays. The new Aibo – sleeker than its boxy ancestor — will be on exhibit to the US public in one place only before it goes on sale: at Sony Square in Manhattan from Friday through Oct. 14.

The original dog, which first went on sale in 1999, sold for $600 to $2,000, while the new dog is priced in Japan at around $1,760. That steep price should keep the Aibo a niche product. Overall, 150,000 original Aibos were sold over the course of seven years. Despite the high price, the new dog appears to be tapping into pent-up demand, with over 20,000 Aibos sold in Japan since January.

Sony Electronics president and COO Mike Fasulo said, “We believe the price we’re launching at is a great value, when you look at all things included” and further added, “We’re talking about the future, with AI and learning … it just gets better as the days and weeks go.”