Sony says it has technology for humanoid robots, just looking for use

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By Kiyoshi Takenaka and Mayu Sakoda


TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese electronics and entertainment conglomerate Sony Group Corp said on Tuesday it has the technology to make humanoid robots quickly once it has identified how they could be effectively used.

"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.

"The key is the development of application," Kitano said.

Sony launched a robot dog called Aibo more than two decades ago. It sold about 150,000 units of Aibo from 1999 until 2006 and launched an advanced version in 2018, selling about 20,000 units in the first six months.

Humanoid robots have been in development for decades by Honda Motor Co and Hyundai Motor Co and in September, Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk showed off a prototype of its humanoid robot Optimus.

Musk's company is floating plans to deploy thousands of the robots in its factories, expanding eventually to millions around the world.

Kitano said Sony, armed with expertise in audio-visual technology and rich entertainment content including music and video games, was well positioned to play a major role in the metaverse, or immersive virtual worlds.

The metaverse is a vague term encapsulating the idea that consumers will spend more time in online simulated environments. While the concept is evolving, it has become a buzzword in briefings and a driver of industry earmarking.

"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."

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka, Editing by Louise Heavens, Robert Birsel)

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