You may not have heard of Ken Kutaragi but you most certainly have heard of his invention: the PlayStation. The former chairperson and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment has now taken on a new role and he plans to build robots that would fit ideally in a post-COVID-19 world, according to a report by Bloomberg.
His new CEO position is at Ascent Robotics Inc., an artificial intelligence startup in Tokyo, Japan. The company's mission is to "make affordable robots that can safely move around and do physical work alongside humans in factories and logistics centers."
Kutaragi hopes to have a working prototype in just one year and has even forgone his salary to save capital. "The COVID-19 outbreak has turned the old argument about robots taking our jobs on its head,” Kutaragi said in an interview with Bloomberg.
“It’s pretty clear now that if we want to arrive at a new normal, we need more and more robots in our daily lives.” The executive has not given much detail further than that so it's a bit hard to imagine what these new robots will look like.
He did, however, mention that collaboration will be key to achieving his lofty goal. Bloomberg has further reported that Ascent has worked with Kawasaki Heavy Industries and with an undisclosed Japanese car manufacturer.
The collaborations are seeking to produce a robotic arm that can pick parts out of a jumble and autonomous driving software. While the first has a lot to do with robotics the second may not be so related.
In addition, both these technologies — collaborative robots and autonomous driving — have over-promised and under-delivered for years. Just look at how long Tesla has been toiling with Autopilot. Can Kutaragi make the kind of breakthroughs that will see these techs become mainstream? Only time will tell.