Can I really control a robot from anywhere?
Anywhere on earth that has decent Internet, yes. If you can watch Netflix or YouTube then you probably have a good enough connection.
What’s it like?
You run our app on your computer. When connected to the robot you’ll see a couple small video streams, one for driving, one for looking around, and one rearview. You can make any of the video streams fill most of your screen. You control the motion of the robot with the WASD keys. Sound is played through your standard computer speakers or headphones.
Does the video up above show what it’s like?
That video was indeed captured on a test drive of one of our robots. However, it is sped up and heavily compressed so that the web page could load fast. The actual video you see while driving the robot looks better.
How fast is the robot?
About walking speed
How long can I drive it?
The batteries are good for a couple hours
Is it as good as being there in person?
Sadly, no. Being there in person is much higher resolution (your eyeballs), better fidelity sound (your ears), and lower latency (your body). But driving a robot around remotely is (we think) a better experience than all the clicky clicky on Google Street View. And it’s better than having somebody wave a phone around while connected to your computer with Skype.
How long is a rental/tour?
Initially, from 30 minutes to 2 hours.
Why not just visit Seattle myself?
Seattle is a wonderful city. Come visit in person if you can. But if you don’t have the money or time for a trip then we’re here to help.
Why not just use Google Street View?
Google Street View is great, but it shows you a view from weeks, months or years in the past. And it requires a lot of clicking to walk down the street. If you want to see what it’s like to be here right now, connect to our robot.
Why not just watch a video on YouTube?
YouTube videos of Seattle (and other places) are great. But they don’t let you wander under your own control. And they show you a recording from some time in the past. If you want to see what it’s like to be here right now, connect to our robot.
Can I get a guided tour?
Sure! We can have an experienced tour guide show you around and tell you stories. This costs a bit more because we have to contract with a tour guide. They typically charge about $50 to $75 per hour.
Do I have to drive it myself, or can you drive it for me?
We can do the driving if you want. We can let you drive when you want and then hand off to us when you want.
Is it easy to learn to drive the robot?
Yes, it takes about a minute. Really. 🙂
“I can’t believe how easy it is! If I can do it anybody can.” – Don Anderson, age 76
Can I tour around by myself?
Sure! However, at this time we have to accompany the robot with a human chaperone. We want to make sure everybody feels safe and that we can help out in case of technical difficulties.
Is my rental private?
If you drive around in public then people will certainly see the robot. But they won’t know who is driving it unless you tell them. The video and audio streams will only be sent to your computer. We do save the videos for our own internal testing. We won’t share those without your permission. (Unless required to do so by legal authorities.)
Wait, so can I talk to people through the robot?
Yep. There’s a screen and speakers on the robot, so we can send your video and voice to the robot, if you want. It’s up to you.
Is it safe?
As long as you drive carefully, yes.
Can the robot go anywhere?
The robot is on wheels, so it can go where wheels can go. Sidewalks are good. Stairs are not. Also, you can drive around in public places just like a pedestrian. Don’t drive in the street. Don’t go onto private property without permission. But that’s kind of standard for walking around a city, eh.
Do you operate in all weather?
Unfortunately, no. The robot isn’t rainproof yet, but we’re working on it. Currently we need dry weather. And yes, it rains a lot in Seattle, but there are a lot of sunny dry days in the summer.
Can your service work with flying drones?
Nope. Drones are noisy and have short flying time. So we opted for something more like walking around.
Is your service available in other cities?
Not yet. But if all goes well we certainly will expand to other cities.
Do you support iPhone? Tablet? TV? VR?
The best experience is with a PC or Mac. You can also use an Android phone. We don’t support iPhone, tablets, TV, or VR goggles (yet).
What are the hardware and network requirements?
A relatively recent computer (desktop or laptop) running Windows or MacOS. A decent broadband connection like you’d use for watching Netflix or YouTube.
Have other questions? Let us know:
You can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.