Yes folks, this really IS a thing.
A four-inch-tall robot that can perceive emotions, dare I say…a My Buddy and Chatty Cathy all in one?
Only this is much more sophisticated. And more costly.
Then again, just how much money do we invest in our human friends? Who knows, Toyota’s Kirobo Mini, at $392, may be the buddy bargain of all time!
A number of internet sites have picked up the story from The Wall Street Journal, in which Japan’s aging population, declining birthrate and even a declining rate in dog ownership are noted as reasons Toyota created this little robot, set to go on sale at Tokyo-area Toyota dealerships by the holidays.
Apparently, Kirobo Mini (which, the WSJ piece notes, is a combination of the Japanese words for “hope” and “robot”) isn’t just able to hold and even initiate a conversation with you…Kirobo Mini will even ride along with you as you drive! He…she…it’ll sit right in your cupholder and critique your driving!
I already have someone to critique my driving. Her name’s Janet. And she’s much prettier. Plus she does other things Kirobo Mini, um, can’t. Okay, let’s leave it right there!
It’s noted that the technology behind Kirobo Mini could find its way into future Toyota vehicles, and “assimilate hours of data to better the everyday lives of drivers all over the world, informing future innovations and developing transport that’s in tune with the driver’s mood, suggesting places to visit, routes to travel and music to listen to.”
Um, music to listen to? Long as it’s Y108, right? Somehow, Brad Paisley seems appropriate right now.
Here’s more from Toyota about Kirobo Mini. No word when, or if, it’ll reach the US. (I assume it’s a when…)
And just think, it’ll never write mean things about you on Facebook. Or clog up your Snapchat with selfies!
More from The Truth About Cars.
Arguably the most insightful autojournalist in North America, here’s Autoextremist Peter DeLorenzo’s take on the announcement.