OnQ Blog

Meet Vector: A smart home robot with personality, powered by Qualcomm

Anki taps Qualcomm Technologies to create an autonomous, smart, and untethered home robot

Aug 8, 2018

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

A growing number of households are enlisting robots to do everything from vacuuming the floors and turning on lights to reading stories to children and playing music. For the most part, these robots have delivered on what they were intended or programed to do … but without personality; they're far from being a true home companion and nothing like the humanoid robots we see in popular sci-fi movies and TV shows.

Anki, an innovative consumer robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) company, recently announced Vector, a home robot with “personality.” Vector is powered by the Qualcomm APQ8009 processor, which supports the powerful computing, connectivity, hardware-based security, and network compatibility the robot needs to be smart, approachable, and autonomous. It's yet another example of how mobile inventions powered by Qualcomm Technologies can help create amazing consumer experiences and, ultimately, enrich lives.

The Qualcomm APQ8009 is engineered to provide true heterogeneous computing and supports on-device AI, along with an integrated camera ISP, hardware-based security, and connectivity. Designed to deliver superior power, thermal, and footprint efficiency, it can help make small, security-rich, and autonomous robots like Vector a reality.

An autonomous, untethered robot that's always learning

Internet of Things (IoT) companies rely on Qualcomm Technologies for solutions that support powerful compute capabilities, low energy consumption, and cutting-edge connectivity, and Anki recognized that the Qualcomm APQ8009 was ideal for Vector because autonomy was a central design principle. This processor empowers Vector to function independently without a secondary device (phone or tablet), app, or cloud connection. But that doesn't mean cloud connectivity is not needed.

Though he doesn't rely on the cloud for his autonomy, Vector does use the cloud for software and firmware updates as well as natural language processing for voice commands. Vector's self-updates from the cloud mean he’s always getting smarter and adding new features. That means from day one Vector will improve and grow more intelligent and useful via machine learning.

Because he's autonomous and always-on, he’s there when you need him — ready to let you know when your alarm goes off, what your local weather will be, and answer your questions. Vector can identify the edges of tables, detect faces and people, and tell where your voice is coming from using a four-mic array. Best of all, there's no need for a smartphone to be always tethered to him. Vector’s owner will only need to use his or her smartphone (Android or iOS) for the initial setup.

Hears and sees

Vector is a unique home robot. For starters, all the compute, on-device AI capabilities, and connectivity are made possible because of the Qualcomm APQ8009, which resides in Vector, not in the user's phone. The processor is designed to act, essentially, as Vector's brain, eyes, and ears. It supports capabilities like processing a 120-degree ultra-wide HD camera field of view that allows him to see the world and recognize faces. In addition, Vector's array of four microphones are engineered to allow him to hear and understand each individual in the room (“Hey, Vector,” gets his attention). Vector also has capacitive touch and can tell when you pet him.

Strong Security

Qualcomm APQ8009 is also designed to support strong and robust security to IoT devices, such as crypto accelerators, secure execution environment, trusted boot, and secure storage.

Other powerful benefits of Qualcomm Technologies' solutions on board Vector include support for:

  • Heterogeneous compute: Integrated CPU, GPU, and DSP cores allow developers to assign the right tasks to the right core for high-performance, low-power processing, and on-device AI with long battery life.

  • Camera: Integrated image sensor processor and computer vision capabilities are used for face detection and recognition and scene understanding and classification.
  • Connectivity: Low-power Wi-Fi and Bluetooth coexist for smooth wireless connectivity.
  • Compatibility: Qualcomm Technologies solutions empower Vector to connect to a large variety of home wireless routers.

Vector is available for pre-order now, via Anki's 30-day Kickstarter campaign.

Qualcomm APQ8009 is a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

Opinions expressed in the content posted here are the personal opinions of the original authors, and do not necessarily reflect those of Qualcomm Incorporated or its subsidiaries ("Qualcomm"). Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries. The content is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to be an endorsement or representation by Qualcomm or any other party. This site may also provide links or references to non-Qualcomm sites and resources. Qualcomm makes no representations, warranties, or other commitments whatsoever about any non-Qualcomm sites or third-party resources that may be referenced, accessible from, or linked to this site.

Dev Singh

Senior Director of Business Development, Qualcomm Technologies