The best robots of CES 2018: from cyber cleaners to robo pals

Something we always see a lot of at the Consumer Electronics Show are robots: robots to clean our floors and help around the home, and maybe even venture into space. This week at CES 2018 has been no different to normal, and these are the best of the droids that we've seen rolling out of the Las Vegas show so far.

Aeolus Bot

The Aeolus Bot is one of the robots moving around the floors of the Las Vegas showrooms at CES this year, and it's got an impressive list of capabilities: it can hand objects to you, vacuum the floor, clean away objects by recognizing them and putting them in the right place, and even act as a security guard.

It also comes with all the smarts of Alexa built in, so it's decent at keeping up a conversation and telling you when your favorite celebrity was born. The rather bulky Aeolus Bot is still at the prototype stage, but will eventually cost as much as "a family trip overseas", according to CNET.

LG Cloi

The LG Cloi robots were embarrassingly bad at following instructions during LG's demo on stage at CES, but assuming they do eventually work properly, these little droids are capable of managing everything in your smart home, from turning off the lights to turning on the washing machine. And they look pretty cute too.

If LG can fix the bugs, the Cloi will be able to give you recipes and tell you what's coming up on your schedule, kind of like a rolling Google Home. The bigger bots in the range are designed for hotels, airports and shopping malls, keeping a hold of your luggage and taking it to wherever you're heading.

Sony Aibo

After a few years of hiatus, Sony's robotic Aibo dogs are back, and wowing the crowds in Las Vegas. While the looks are largely the same, these mechanical pups are a lot smarter on the inside, able to recognize faces and respond to commands, as well as perform the usual canine tricks, such as picking up a bone from the floor. Thanks to the camera in its nose, it can even keep an eye on your home while you're away.

Like the trusty smart speakers we've come to know and love, the Aibo can recognize voice instructions, and even react to patting. For now all we know is the Japanese price of 198,000 JPY (roughly £1,300/$1,755/AU$2,245), and there's a subscription fee on top of that, so these are going to be pricey little critters if you're thinking of getting one.

Sophia the robot

Sophia is an advanced humanoid robot from Hong Kong company Hanson Robotics. She's packed with some very smart AI and has been doing the rounds for a while now, with her latest appearance being at CES 2018. Sophia isn't a bot you can buy just yet, but she's a demonstration of just where robotics tech is heading.

The most impressive part of Sophia is her built-in AI, partly powered by Google. She can hold conversations and even give speeches, and as well as answering your questions she'll throw out some of her own... just like a real person. Almost. Sophia's latest upgrade is a pair of humanoid legs to help her get around on her own.

Buddy the robot

Buddy is another robot that's been with us for a couple of years in some form or another, but it's on show at CES 2018 in its latest incarnation. From French robotics firm Blue Frog, Buddy is designed as a robot that can keep up a conversation with anyone in your family, monitor your home, play music and videos, and more besides.

Think of it kind of like an Amazon Echo with a face and wheels, though there's no Alexa on board here. It's particularly good for playing with kids or keeping an eye on elderly parents, but like a lot of CES kit, you can't actually buy Buddy right now. Its makers say preorders for the robot assistant will be open again soon.

Kuri the robot

Kuri was actually unveiled at CES 2017, but it's on show at CES 2018, and has just started shipping to its first preorder customers – so that instantly puts it ahead of many of the other droids listed here. Like many similar bots, it's designed to help around the home: answering questions, snapping photos, playing games, and generally biding its time until the robot uprising arrives.

Thanks to its built-in smarts, Kuri can recognize faces and voices, and navigate its way around objects in the home. If you want to have a Kuri to call your own, you can put your $799 (£590/AU$1,020) down on the official site, with orders currently expected to be shipped in a couple of months.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.