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商业 - 科技

索尼请回了“退休”10年的机器狗

索尼上周三表示,将重新推出已经销声匿迹逾10年的AIBO机器狗。

索尼上周三表示,将重新推出已经销声匿迹逾10年的AIBO机器狗,原因是:经过几年的重组后,这家电子和娱乐企业希望重振自己的创新声誉。

发布公告的前一天,索尼预测本财年利润将创历史新高,从而证实自己已经复苏,并推动自身股价攀升至九年来的最高点。索尼同时确认了此前猜测这个“宠物项目”将复活的报道。

AIBO的宣传定位是宠物,行为像真正的狗,借助人工智能来学习并和自己的主人以及环境互动。升级后的AIBO采用了新的传感和运动技术,人工智能也比以前先进得多,而且将在云计算支持下发展自己的个性。

这款产品定于明年1月在日本上市,售价19.8万日元(约11484元人民币)。

1999年,索尼推出AIBO宠物狗,借此率先进入娱乐机器人领域。该产品在日本售出了大约15万只。七年后,索尼的核心消费电子业务因与亚洲新兴对手的价格战而陷入困境,AIBO机器狗随之停产。

索尼首席执行官平井一夫在新闻通气会上表示:“2006年终止这个项目是个艰难的决定,但我们一直在进行人工智能和机器人开发。”

“一年半以前,我让索尼的工程师们开发(新的)AIBO机器狗,因为我坚信能和人建立亲密关系的机器人有助于实现索尼(去启迪)的愿景。”

重生的AIBO机器狗采用了新的驱动技术,行为更加流畅和自然,就像真正的狗一样。传感和人工智能技术让它能够跑向自己的主人,识别气味和赞扬的话语,并记住那些可以取悦主人的行为。用OLED(有机发光二极管)制作的眼睛让它能做出多种表情。

索尼的目标是让新款AIBO机器狗的销量至少达到老款的水平,但未说明将在多长时间内实现。该公司还表示,正考虑在海外销售这款产品。

索尼认为人工智能是未来增长的基石,并希望跟上主要科技公司的脚步,比如Facebook、苹果公司和谷歌。

去年索尼向美国人工智能初创企业Cogitai投入了一笔资金,但未披露具体金额,该初创公司开发的技术主要是:允许机器通过和真实世界的互动来不断地进行自主学习。索尼还成立了一只风投基金,目的是和人工智能与机器人领域的研究人员以及初创公司建立合作关系。

今年早些时候,索尼国际教育推出了首款产品Koov,这个塑料积木机器人旨在通过搭建和编程教孩子们编写代码。 (财富中文网)

译者:Charlie

审校:夏林

Japan’s Sony Corp said on Wednesday it has brought back AIBO more than a decade since it last made the robotic dog, as the electronics and entertainment firm seeks to rebuild its reputation for innovation after years of restructuring.

The announcement comes a day after Sony confirmed its renaissance by forecasting its highest-ever profit this financial year, sending its shares surging to a nine-year high. And it confirms previous reportsspeculating that Sony would revive the “pet project.”

AIBO is billed as a pet that behaves like a real dog using artificial intelligence (AI) to learn and interact with its owner and surroundings. The upgrade sees AIBO equipped with new sensing and movement technologies as well as far more advanced AI backed by cloud computing to develop the dog’s personality.

Sales begin in Japan in January for 198,000 yen ($1,739).

Sony pioneered entertainment robots with AIBO in 1999. It sold about 150,000 dogs in Japan before ceasing production seven years later when its core consumer electronics business struggled in price wars with emerging Asian rivals.

“It was a difficult decision to stop the project in 2006, but we continued development in AI and robotics,” Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai said at a news briefing.

“I asked our engineers a year and a half ago to develop (new) AIBO because I strongly believe robots capable of building loving relationships with people help realise Sony‘s mission (to inspire).”

The reborn AIBO features new actuator technology allowing it move more smoothly and naturally like a real dog. With sensing and AI technologies, AIBO can run toward its owner and detect smiles and words of praise, and can remember what actions please the owner. Its eyes are made of organic light emitting diode (OLED) displays making it capable of diverse expressions.

Sony said it aims to sell at least as many new AIBO as the original, without giving a time frame. It also said it is considering overseas sales.

The firm sees AI as a future pillar of growth, hoping to catch up with major technology companies such as Facebook Inc , Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google.

It invested an undisclosed sum last year in Cogitai, a U.S. AI start-up focusing on technology that allows machines to learn continually and autonomously from interaction in the real world. It also established a venture capital fund to build partnerships with researchers and start-up companies in AI and robotics.

Earlier this year, Sony Education launched its first product, Koov, which aims to teach children coding through building and programming robots using plastic blocks.

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