A new report claims that Amazon has a “top-secret plan” to build a new kind of home robot.
Amazon has launched a plan to build a “domestic robot,” Bloomberg reports. The project is codenamed “Vesta” after the Roman goddess of the hearth and the home.
While the project was conceived years ago, Amazon is just now ramping up hiring for the proposed home-bot. Bloomberg says Amazon “hopes to begin seeding the robots in employees’ homes by the end of this year, and potentially with consumers as early as 2019,” which would seem to be a speedy timeline.
What Will It Do?
All of this raises the obvious question: what would a dedicated Amazon home robot do? “People familiar with the project” told Bloomberg that Vesta could be a mobile Alexa, as prototypes involve cameras and software that enable the bot to “navigate through homes like a self-driving car.”
So it’s possible that rather than needing Echo devices in a bunch of different rooms, you could just have one device following you wherever you go. (If that’s something you’d even want.) But it also seems clear that Amazon would build such a robot as a part of its Alexa-enable ecosystem — not as a complete replacement.
If all Vesta does is act as a mobile Alexa, that fails to live up to its billing as a “domestic” robot. As Bloomberg points out, robotic vacuums — most specifically Roomba — are the most successful home service bots to date. It will be interesting to see if Amazon sees its own bot as something that should be able to tackle common household chores.
We’d also think that a self-driving (or self-flying drone) home robot should be equipped with some sort of security feature. With a built-in camera, it’d be a natural fit to monitor the home for activity.