A company that manufactures robot vacuum cleaners called iRobot started this project seven years ago. The prototype from 2013 was capable to navigate and avoid moving obstacles, which was very impressive at that time.
Now, former iRobot engineers have created Ava robotics, a startup that is perfecting the Ava 500 upgrade. In collaboration with Cisco, the Cisco Spark video conferencing system, they have added sensors that are more sophisticated, a greater number of cameras, better sound and a streaming technology.
Its uniqueness is based on the ability to map the environment so that remote users can use it without having to drive it and not have to worry about obstacles. If they do decide to drive it manually, Ava will still do its best to keep them from running into things.
Instead of selling the robots, the company offers a rental plan that iscalled Ava Video Collaboration Solution. The plans start at less than US $1,000 per month and they are now available. This is a much more affordable option than in 2013 when Ava was priced at $70,000.
Originally created for the medical field, Ava can now also transform the world of business and remote meetings. It is not clear where the world of telepresence is headed, but with the current competition of some companies that believe in this technology, we will surely see interesting results.