By David Kirton
SHENZHEN, China (Reuters) – With glowing blue eyes and trusting feline features, a new robot cat by Chinese startup Elephant Robotics seems happily oblivious to the worries of CEO Joey Song as he shows it off at the company’s lab in Shenzhen.
Elephant Robotics’ main business is the automation of factory assembly lines but revenue has plunged by a third this year due to the coronavirus, leading the company to cut staff by a fifth.
“It’s tough,” said Song. “Before, we had more than 30 people.”
Due to the downturn, the firm is putting more energy into the robot cat project funded on Kickstarter in December. Readying its first large batch of 1,000 cats for sale, it hopes that as more consumers work from home, interest in pet robots will grow.
“If the industrial robots can’t sell right now, we just focus on other robots to lower