Sony says it has the technology to make humanoid robots but is still determining for what purpose

It seems that Sony is about to take place in the humanoid robot race.
Christopher McFadden
A humanoid robot.
A humanoid robot.

Ociacia/iStock 

On Tuesday, Sony Group Corporation, the famous Japanese electronics and media conglomerate, claimed that once it determines the best applications for humanoid robots, it can produce them swiftly. For those waiting for "real" humanoid robots for decades, such news will be a treat for their ears.

"In terms of technology, several companies in the world including this one have enough technology accumulated to make them swiftly once it becomes clear which usage is promising," Sony Chief Technology Officer Hiroaki Kitano told Reuters in an interview.

"We will make an investment (for manufacturing) only when such investment is deemed necessary. We see a potential in humanoid robots, but we also believe other forms of robots a requite important as well," he added.

With a long history in developing electronics and robots, this news is something most have been expecting for a long while. More than 20 years ago, Sony introduced a robotic dog named Aibo.

Between 1999 and 2006, it sold over 150,000 units. In 2018, an improved version was released, and the first six months saw sales of about 20,000 units.

Sony is not the only company making news in this area either.

Honda Motor Company and Hyundai Motor Company have been working on humanoid robots for many years. Tesla CEO Elon Musk also unveiled a prototype of its Optimus humanoid robot in September 2022.

Tesla is considering deploying thousands of robots in its factories, eventually increasing that number to millions globally.

Sony is looking to make inroads into the "metaverse," too

Kitano claimed that Sony was in a solid position to play a significant role in the metaverse, or immersive virtual worlds, because of its experience in audio-visual technology and rich entertainment content, including music and video games.

"As for the metaverse, it's not like people would show up just because you've created a venue ... Content is what makes or breaks the metaverse," he said.

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In a media event earlier on Tuesday, Kitano stated that Sony would increase its R&D efforts. He identified sensing, artificial intelligence (AI), and digital virtual spaces as critical technical fields to support Sony's economic growth.

"Sensors, AI and virtual spaces interlocking together is the core of our technology and will be our great strength," Kitano told reporters.

Sony's image sensors are frequently found in smartphones and are increasingly essential auto parts as automakers work to cut down on traffic accidents and transition to autonomous driving.

For this reason, Sony has a solid foundation for any planned humanoid robots it may have up its sleeves. It will be interesting to see what comes out of their research and development labs in the future.