Ava Robotics, a relatively new company created by vacuum cleaner manufacturer Robo iRobot, has launched a new telepresence robot called Ava.
Ava is an update of Ava 500, which iRobot launched in 2013, and adds some hardware and software adjustments: the number of cameras increased from one to three, sound quality was improved at both ends, and controls were added based on In the robot control application. Like its predecessor, Ava's videoconferencing software is backed by Cisco, and can navigate autonomously in office environments, find its way to specific areas and return to its loading position without human orientation.
As VP of product of Ava Robotics, Marcio Macedo, explains to The Verge: "The first day that Ava arrives at the place, we escort him through that space so that he knows the limits, then, based on that map, he can navigate, avoid collisions and find alternative routes to your destination, so when you plan a meeting with Ava, you do not have to worry about finding the way, you can send it directly to someone's desk. "
When iRobot launched the original Ava 500, it sold the device for almost $ 70,000. This time, Ava Robotics is trying a different approach: instead of buying the robot directly, companies will hire it for less than $ 1,000 per month. (This price includes technical support). It's a sensible approach considering that rival telepresence robots sell for less than $ 5,000. Making telepresence a monthly expense instead of a single expense is more attractive to businesses, says Macdeo. "He pays himself on a business trip," he says.
However, telepresence robots are still a niche technology despite the improvements in the products. As a way of interacting with colleagues, it is still a limited experience, although it offers tangible benefits over regular videoconferences. Let's see if Ava can move things one more time.