Chinese tech giant Baidu’s latest bet on industry of things (IoT) is a result of its aim to give users a ‘sci-fi’ experience.
In what can be seen as an attempt to rival the Amazon Echo and Google Home, the Chinese multi-billion dollar company, Baidu, has unveiled its latest set of AI hardware: a home robot named ‘Raven R’ that is capable to dance, and a brightly coloured smart speaker named ‘Raven H’. The robot ‘Raven R’ sits perfectly on a table, brilliantly expresses emotions and reacts to users by moving its 6 human-like joints seamlessly. According to the company, the second Robot named ‘Raven Q’ is still in development.
The company unveiled this all-new set of AI-powered hardware at the Baidu World Conference held last week. The first piece of hardware to go on sale will be the crazy smart speaker ‘Raven H’. According to the company, it will be available by next month for the price of USD 256.
Baidu’s president Ya-Qin Zhang, and COO, Qi Lu, both of whom were present during the ceremony, told the press that the Raven devices, for the time being, will be sold only in China. Interestingly, both of these top executives are former top-ranking Microsoft executives.
In October, Baidu opened a cloud-engineering and artificial intelligence centre in the Seattle region. This further supplements their already existing Silicon Valley operations. Market analysts see these moves as part of Baidu’s global ambition to rival the likes of Amazon Echo or Google Home.
Presenting with a scenario to explain how the ‘Raven H’ speaker would work, its engineers elucidate that if the user asks ‘Raven H’ about the time of Liverpool Club’s next match, the device will not just provide the user with an answer but follow up with a question asking if the user would like it to set an alarm. If the user replies yes, ‘Raven H’ will set up the alarm and automatically turn on the TV before the match starts.