Amazon is reportedly working on a mobile robot for the home, according to Bloomberg. While Amazon does own separate robotics companies that develop robots for their warehouses, the home robot project, codenamed “Vesta,” is being worked on by Amazon’s Lab126 hardware research and development division. Lab126 is responsible for all consumer products, like the Fire TV, Echo devices, Fire tablets, and Kindles.
Sources familiar with Amazon’s home robot plans say the company hopes to begin testing in employees homes by the end of this year. If all goes well, we could see the robot offered to consumers as early as 2019. Of course, there are probably countless Amazon projects that make it far enough in development to be a functioning product but never make it out of Lab126. With a project as ambitious as a home robot, there’s a good chance it’ll never be released.
That’s not to say the effort would be a waste if the robot was never released. Advancements made during its development could make their way into other Amazon hardware. A mobile robot would need advanced computer vision to navigate through homes. Those advancements, for example, could trickle down to products like Amazon’s Amazon Cloud Cam security camera.
There’s little information on what the Vesta robot project is currently capable of doing or what functionality it hopes to provide if released. People familiar with the project say the prototype uses advanced cameras and computer vision to maneuver around. Whatever it can or can’t do, it’s probably safe to assume Alexa’s voice assistant capabilities will be an integral part of the robot.