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The $249 Vector robot goes on sale in October. Photo: Anki

Anki, known for its Overdrive iPhone-controlled race cars and Cozmo robot, is launching a third product called Vector. It's like Cozmo's older brother — capable of running on its own without a smartphone and able to find its own way to a charger.

Why it matters: Anki has bigger ambitions than most people realize, but believes the key to building Rosie from "The Jetsons" is to start small and get better over time.

"At a high level, our goal is to figure out how to get robotics into people’s homes," Anki president Hanns Tappeiner told Axios. So far Anki has sold 1.5 million of its first two products, including several hundred thousand Cozmos.

The details: Vector will sell for $249 and go on sale Oct. 12, with a Kickstarter pre-sale. It's powered by a Qualcomm quad-core processor, has about twice as many parts as Cozmo (nearly 700 vs 340) and operates independently over a Wi-Fi connection. Like Cozmo, it can recognize people's faces and enjoys play. This time around, the toy can also respond to both speech and touch.

Vector's debut comes as the makers of some higher-priced home robots have been forced to shut down.

Tappeiner is hopeful that at a lower price, Vector will avoid that fate. As for its use, Tappeiner thinks it is more like a digital pet for the whole family than a kid's toy, which was Cozmo's raison d'etre.

How it works: I was one of the first people outside the company to see a prototype Vector in action and have also had a chance to play more extensively with Cozmo.

  • Like Cozmo, Vector can recognize different people and say hi when it sees them. Both have a similar feel, though the sophistication and ambition with Cozmo is clearly higher.
  • Vector can learn more about each person it encounters, including whether they like to play.
  • Vector can take pictures when asked, play some basic games, deliver messages and answer some queries. (Asked for the weather in Seattle, during our demo, its eyes sloshed with rain.)
  • It's constantly building a map of the world it moves through, including obstacles and its charger.

What's next: Tappeiner said Anki's goal is to launch products every 2-4 years, each time moving the company closer to its longer-term goal of a truly useful home robot.

Go deeper

Tech scrambles to derail inauguration threats

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tech companies are sharing more information with law enforcement in a frantic effort to prevent violence around the inauguration, after the government was caught flat-footed by the Capitol siege.

Between the lines: Tech knows it will be held accountable for any further violence that turns out to have been planned online if it doesn't act to stop it.

Dave Lawler, author of World
5 hours ago - World

Uganda's election: Museveni declared winner, Wine claims fraud

Wine rejected the official results of the election. Photo: Sumy Sadruni/AFP via Getty

Yoweri Museveni was declared the winner of a sixth presidential term on Saturday, with official results giving him 59% to 35% for Bobi Wine, the singer-turned-opposition leader.

Why it matters: This announcement was predictable, as the election was neither free nor fair and Museveni had no intention of surrendering power after 35 years. But Wine — who posed a strong challenged to Museveni, particularly in urban areas, and was beaten and arrested during the campaign — has said he will present evidence of fraud. The big question is whether he will mobilize mass resistance in the streets.

Off the Rails

Episode 1: A premeditated lie lit the fire

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 1: Trump’s refusal to believe the election results was premeditated. He had heard about the “red mirage” — the likelihood that early vote counts would tip more Republican than the final tallies — and he decided to exploit it.

"Jared, you call the Murdochs! Jason, you call Sammon and Hemmer!”