The last few years has seen Segway shift its focus from personal transportation to other categories, one of which is automation. Earlier this year at CES the robotics manufacturer teased an upcoming two-wheeled autonomous personal assistant. Flash forward to today and Loomo, a robotic scooter mixed with artificial intelligence, is set to launch pre-orders with a hefty $1,300 price tag.
While the MSRP may scare some folks away, Segway is looking to early adopters that want to take their homes into the future.
Loomo is a unique mixture of personal intelligence and the company’s previously released miniLITE scooter. Think Alexa meets R2-D2 combined with your own personal transport.
Two wheels and a platform, which you can actually ride on, serve as Loomo’s base. A single arm rises up to house a bevy of sensors in what essentially turns out to be the device’s face. The single eye in the middle serves as an identifier that Loomo is engaged with its master. The integrated display also acts as a control panel of sorts that gives users access to different features, along with a list of apps.
When users are ready to go for a ride, the voice command “let’s go” summons Loomo with its display rotated 90-degrees to accommodate users. Similarly, “follow” will command the two-wheeled device to trail its master around the house, carrying out a variety of tasks. That includes the ability to take a photo or video of what it sees in front of it.
There’s no word on the ability to use services like Skype, but that seems like a no-brainer for a variety of uses.
As far as the scooter portion of Loomo is concerned, it holds up fairly well to the competition. The built-in battery pack takes about three-hours to charge, but provides around 22-miles of range. It rides much Segway’s other two-wheel vehicles that we’ve come to know in the past. Simply leaning one direction or another will allow riders to take off in the corresponding direction.
Segway also mentions that it has plans for open source development to follow in the coming months. It hopes that the custom version of Android will bring in more developers in due time. Segway is also planning on pushing updates “regularly” with additional features for Loomo once it ships.
Loomo hit Indiegogo this morning, but it’s hardly your typical crowdfunding campaign. It’s already raised nearly $180,000 and Segway is set to ship units in May. Early bird pricing starts at $1,299, with plans for the final retail price to jump up to $1,799.