Amazon is said to be working on building ‘Home Robots’ and is reported to have bigger plans for a domestic robot according to people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. The project currently has a codename “Vesta,” and is overseen by Gregg Zehr, who runs Amazon’s Lab126 hardware research and development division based in Sunnyvale, California.
The Lab126 is the backbone of Amazon devices such as the Echo speakers, Fire TV set-top-boxes, Fire tablets and the ill-fated Fire Phone. Though the project was started years ago, Amazon is aggressively planning to ramp up the hiring. The job listings on Lab 126 Jobs page include roles of Software Engineer, Robotics” and “Principle Sensors Engineer.” Furthermore, the company hopes to begin testing the robots in employees’ homes by the end of this year, and potentially with consumers as early as 2019.
However, the timeline could change anytime, and Amazon hardware projects are sometimes killed during gestation. It is also unclear what tasks can the Amazon robot perform, but people who were briefed claim that it will be a mobile Alexa accompanying customers in parts of their home. The prototypes include advanced cameras, computer vision software and can navigate through homes like a self-driving car.
To be clear, this project is different than the robots designed by Amazon Robotics, a company subsidiary. Many companies in the past have tried their hands on the domestic robots, but very few saw the day in the light, and very few succeeded. It needs to be seen how different the Amazon made robots are going to be.