This week, we’re in Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show — better known as CES — and Paul Fosse, Kyle Field, and I will be on the ground trying to find the best clean tech and sustainability news stories there. That said, from what I was able to se at the media-only “CES Unveiled” event last night, the emphasis this year doesn’t seem to be faster processors or smarter refrigerators or cutting-edge cars or even sustainability. Instead, it’s AI.
AI and robots.
This is, perhaps, somewhat predictable. 2023 was, of course, the year artificial intelligence, GPTs, and LLMs became a part of the broader cultural lexicon, and adding “AI” to your business’ name was almost a prerequisite for raising capital (is cleantechnica.ai take?). Still, I wasn’t quite prepared for this.
It’s called the Mammotion Luba AWD 5000 — and it’s a $2500, all-wheel drive autonomous lawn mower that’s part Roomba, part whirling OSHA violation. Instead of robust, sturdy lawnmower blades, the Luba is fitted with what seem to be generic razor blades attached to spinning plastic plates under the plastic body loosely held on by small Phillips head screws and nuts.
I audibly gasped when the very polite Asian woman flipped it over. She blurted out, “it very safe” reflexively. I had said nothing, but probably spit out some of my wine (there was wine).
I took my pictures, nodded politely, then scurried off to find more alcohol.
The next Roomba-esque little robot to catch my eye was Aiper, who had a series of autonomous pool cleaning bots on hand along with a CES innovation award and bags of Aiper-branded swag that they were eager to give away. Through no fault of his own, Paul got loaded down with a hat, a beach towel, a waterproof roll up bag, a smaller accessory bag, and swim goggles.
These guys are really, really trying.
Other highlights from the CES unveiled media preview event included an all-in-one washer dryer from GE that claims to use less water and 50% less electricity of a conventional washer/dryer setup in a single machine …
… a Verge electric motorcycle that never seemed to be without some dude “riding it” while other dudes took pictures of them straddling the bike and nodding approvingly …
… a mechanical exoskeleton from Japan that promises to make manual labor and mobility for the elderly safer and more efficient, with fewer injuries …
… and an “AI-powered” baby stroller that’s really just a stroller with an e-bike motor in it to make pushing baby and baby’s stuff easier and features a “rocking” function that moves the crib back and forth, soothingly, if the baby gets fussy.
I guess that’s the AI part? It knows when the kid is fussy?
Kyle is off today with the guys and gals from Honda, I’m sticking close to Bosch and Nikola, and Paul will be checking out the e-bikes as a guest of Himiway later today, and we’ll have more CES excitement for you in the coming days. If there’s something you see that you’d like us to check out first hand, let us know — in the comments.