CNET First Look
Gita the robot followed me around New York to carry my stuffThe prototype cargo droid by Piaggio is nimble and cute but still has some kinks to work out.
It is so cold outside today, not the kind of day you want to be carrying groceries. But I can keep my hands in my pockets, because I got this little buddy to help me. [MUSIC] This is GITA, a robot designed to follow you around and carry your stuff, 40 pounds of stuff to be exact. I took a prototype bot out for a spin on the streets of New York City to see what it was like to have my own robot helper buddy. Gita was created by Italian company Piaggio, you know them as the makers of the Vespa scooter. But this two foot tall cargo bot was born from a research team based on Boston. The only thing is, to get it to follow you, you have to wear this belt. They're working on getting that technology to be a little smaller. This not so sexy spaceman fanny pack is loaded cameras that are mapping out the area around me. There are also cameras on all sides of the Gida. The system blends the data together so it knows where I'm going and also not crashing into people walking between us. The team is working on shrinking this belt down into something you just have to clip on a pocket. My demo Gita behaved only when I walked slowly, but it has the potential to follow its owner on a road or a bike ride, travelling up to 22 miles per hour. If you keep it at walking speed, the battery's gonna last eight hours. Come on Gita, you gotta keep up. Now this being a prototype my trip was a bit of a bumpy ride, sometimes it had trouble syncing with my belt and someone from the team would have to jump in to steer it with a remote control, one of the wheels wouldn't light up and it also got a bit banged up. [SOUND]. Following you through doors is still a work in progress. That said, you better be going somewhere that has an elevator. It weighs around 50 pounds so you do not want to lug this up stairs. When you're ready to unload, there is a fingerprint scanner to keep your stuff secure and alarms are gonna sound off if someone tries to mess with your bot. With its zero turning radius, the nimble Gita has potential to be helpful in businesses like hospitals or hotels. It can also be pre-programmed with a map of a facility. So it can travel a set course. It's being tested in enterprise situations over the next year. And after that, we could see a version for the consumer side. So you may want one to carry groceries home or schlep those heavy textbooks to class. So are you ready to live in a future with robot pets that follow you around? Because it's not a fantasy anymore. For CNet I'm Bridget Carrie.