LG air-conditioners fitted with AI

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LG air-conditioners fitted with AI

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Whisen Dual Air Conditioner [LG ELECTRONICS]

LG Electronics on Monday unveiled an air-conditioner that learns its owners’ habits and about its surroundings and shoots cool waves of air where it thinks it should.

The consumer electronics giant showed off 29 new air-conditioners with varying capacities and designs, including a Whisen Dual Air Conditioner controlled by artificial intelligence (AI).

“With the launch of Whisen Dual Air Conditioner, we will make 2017 the beginning of AI-based consumer appliances,” said Song Dae-hyun, president of LG’s home appliance and air solution division, at a launch at the company headquarters in western Seoul. Song vowed that LG would lead the global market for premium air conditioners with its technologies.

The Dual Whisen air conditioner has been designed with a so-called Smart Care feature based on Deep ThinQ, a deep learning technology that LG has trademarked.

Smart Care has a camera that can detect humans, making it possible for the machine to distinguish a space with people from an empty space. It decides on its own how much space to cool and whether it should use air conditioning or ventilation or activate air-purification modes.

The machine has been embedded with a database of 500,000 photos containing all different types of interiors to understand varying circumstances of users. After being installed in a new house, it uses a black box-like camera to takes a photo of the new environment for the first two weeks to compare with the existing data and activate the Smart Care feature. If an owner moves, he or she can reset the conditioner for re-optimization.

“Two weeks will be the ideal period of time for the machine to optimize its functions but one week would suffice too,” said an LG spokesman.

The device can save up to 20.5 percent of energy compared to existing air conditioners that waste cooling power.

With growing consumer worries about pollution, the air-conditioner is capable of getting rid of ordinary and fine dust, odors, harmful gases and even viruses and bacteria. The machine shows the level of air cleanness on four different levels and the Korea Air Cleaning Association issued a certificate recognizing its ability to remove 99.9 percent of dust in the air.

LG’s new air conditioners will retail from 2 million won ($1,692) to 6.2 million depending on the model.

The launch follows LG’s proclamation earlier in this month on the sidelines of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that the company would become an early mover in deep learning technology, which it defines as the next phase of smart appliances.

The company showcased an array of home appliances - refrigerators, robot vacuum cleaners, air-conditioners and washing machines - that have applied deep learning technology as it bets on AI technologies for its consumer electronics, as its smartphone business has been faltering in recent years.

Lee Gam-gyu, vice president of the air solutions division at LG, told reporters that the company came up with air-conditioners that could recognize voice commands years before but the focus has migrated to deep learning.

“When voice recognition and deep learning are combined, that will mean the maturing stage of AI,” he said, promising AI air conditioners assisted by voice control next year.

He said the company may collaborate with Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa or acquire an AI firm to advance the level of its technologies.


BY SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun@joongang.co.kr]

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