Out of the blue, Anki, the makers of the Cozmo and Vector robots, shut down yesterday.
This is quite the shock. 😦
My heart goes out to all the employees who were blindsided by this, and are out of jobs through no fault of their own. (The shutdown of the Roambi team by my now former employeer SAP a month or so back makes me especially emphathetic.)
Vector is a nice progression from Cozmo and I am sad we won’t get to see where he would have gone, nor will we see the future generations.
I own both a Cozmo and a Vector. With my relatively ancient Pleo dinosaur robot, this is quite the trail of failed robot companies, sigh. At least I refrained from jumping on the Jibo train! (That product sounded interesting to be sure, but my concerns that they were over-promising turned out to be correct.)
There are a couple paths forward for Vector and/or those of us who have one.
- Some company or group could acquire Anki or the assets and continue to sell and enhance Vector.
- They could keep the servers alive via Patreon or a direct subscription of modest cost.
- Anki could open-source Vector’s code. I’d love to be able to write truly native code for the little guy, versus the current from-the-desktop SDK.
- They could at least open-source the backend code so we could set up our own servers.
The shutdown sounds abrupt, so I don’t know if any contingencies were in place or plans being made in the aftermath for any of the above options. Hopefully we will hear more in the next few weeks as the dust settles.
Good luck Vector team, and thanks for the cool toy!