Vice reports that some of the people who built Amazon's Astro home robot were not impressed by it. Vice reported that one person involved in the creation of the robot called it a disaster and that it wasn't ready for release. Another said that it was horrible and that it wouldn't be useful as an accessibility device.
Vice reports that the robot is also fragile and that many of its devices have been damaged. This is not good news for a robot costing $1,000 (or $1449) that lives on the ground. It can be stepped on, kicked, or even attacked by pets who are dissatisfied with its presence.
Astro is always on the lookout
Vice obtained videos and documents containing developer meetings leaked from Astro. These documents show that Astro is monitoring its facial recognition systems and the feature that follows people around if they don't recognize it. Vice sources claim that Astro is not very good at identifying people, which could cause it to be annoying in following people it should know. Its data collection was described by one of its workers as a privacy nightmare.
Astro is not surprising. It comes with a Ring Protect Pro subscription and Amazons marketing for the robot makes it clear that it can be used to protect your home from wild animals. Surprisingly, we were able to see leaked documents and videos as well as hear from grudging developers the day after the announcement of the device. The robots' charms must not convince anyone, or several people, at Amazon.
This leak partially recontextualizes Amazon's invitation-based rollout. The robot cannot be purchased by you. You must request an invitation. This involves filling out a survey that will determine if your home is suitable for Astro. It also includes questions about the style of stairs you have. Amazon may be trying to place these robots in the best possible scenario to see if they can survive.