Our modern world is full of history’s broken promises for the future. We don’t have flying cars, space colonies, or adequate healthcare. We don’t even have robotic maids, unless your count your Roomba with its pathetic attempts to push dirt around your living room until it gets stuck under the couch. Most people don’t ever interact with robots, despite Stanley Kubrick’s predictions. Pilot Labs wants to change that by giving the people an affordable robot that has the potential to actually be useful. That’s why they’re on Kickstarter launching the new Moorebot Scout, which is a robotic sentry that will patrol your home looking for intruders or pets.
The Scout just recently launched on Kickstarter with a very modest funding goal of just $5,000. Generally speaking, that means that the product is already ready to go into production and the Kickstarter campaign was created for marketing and to gauge consumer interest. So far, the campaign has raised more than $60,000 and it will still be running for another 43 days. This isn’t Pilot Labs’ first foray into robotics, as they have previously released a small bipedal robot called the Moorebot Zeus. But the Moorebot Scout is their first robot of this type—a small autonomous robot that incorporates artificial intelligence.
This robot is small enough to fit into the palm of your hand, at just 2.8 x 4 x 4.3 inches. But it packs quite a lot of technology into that small body. It looks at the world through a 1080p camera with nightvision and uses its artificial intelligence to navigate through your home on four omnidirectional Mecanum wheels. You can control the Scout manually through a smartphone app or simply let it drive around autonomously, and it will automatically map its surroundings. When in patrol mode, it can use its Google TensorFlow machine learning model to recognize people or animals. It’s controlled by Linux with ROS (Robot Operating System), so you can also program your own functionality. When its battery dies, it will automatically return to its charging cradle to top off. It’s intended to be a combination of a STEM learning tool, a security bot, and a companion for your kids and pets. From what we can tell, it achieves the first goal admirably. Whether it is useful for security or companionship is a bit more dubious.
If you want to get your hands on a Moorebot Scout, the Kickstarter campaign will be running until May 7th. Super early birds can back the campaign and get a Scout for just $139. Rewards are expected to be delivered in June.