With cute-looking robots like Sony’s Aibo puppy, the haunting valley is more of a path of butterflies and spring colors towards bonding with a robot-pet, especially in the case of children. And this idea seems to have supported those of XPeng Robotics for the creation of their robot pony for kids, although it looks like a mixture of several species.
Perhaps that is why the name of the product is Little White Dragon, and it goes something beyond being caressed by its dimensions. It is a robot reminiscent of Spot from Boston Dynamics for its legs and body, but with a much friendlier and more colorful appearance, designed for children to interact and directly ride on it.
He runs, talks and “gets excited”, and when the battery runs out he goes alone to the charging base
Maybe Xpeng sounds familiar to us and in fact we have talked about it in Engadget. With an important division of electric cars, the house started Xpeng Robotics last year, a branch dedicated to intelligent robots. Little White Dragon is located in this work, which as explained in CNEvPost is oriented to be “a smart little vehicle for kids”.
As seen in the images and in the video of its announcement, Little White Dragon does not exactly recall something we have seen in ‘Game of Thrones’ or in some other fiction series in which these beings appear, but rather it is something between a big dog and a pony, Xpeng opting for the small equid to describe it. Maybe even the unicorn that Doraemon would have.
Little White Dragon has sensors to recognize its surroundings and to be able to move around, and according to Xpeng it can interact “emotionally”. An ability that they already attributed to previous robots, such as (the perhaps endangered) Pepper.
Among those sensors it has a LiDAR and has a series of cameras, so that a map can be created similar to how many robot vacuum cleaners do. Thus, it can autonomously trace routes avoiding obstacles, according to XPeng, and be a vehicle for young children (without specifying an age for now).
It has facial and voice recognition, being able to interact with it through audio commands. As is often the case with this type of robot, it has a screen showing animations based on the answer, which in this case would correspond to those “emotions” (also being a touch screen).
In the absence of knowing the price and the maximum load it can withstand, Little White Dragon presents itself as an assistant robot that acts as a robotic pet that has been tried with previous robots like the adorable Nicobo (which even came with “gases”). Little White Dragon can add accessories to load the purchase or climb, but they have not disclosed the price and availability of them, so we will have to wait if the idea is to get one. Meanwhile, you can always try to get a Xiaomi CyberDog, although its design is not exactly childish.