Amazon's Secretive "Vesta" Program is Reportedly Building Home Robots

Amazon's Secretive

Amazon's Secretive "Vesta" Program is Reportedly Building Home Robots

Ten years ago, Amazon introduced the Kindle and established the appeal of reading on a digital device.

Amazon is known for taking risks and getting into categories well ahead of its competitors (just look at the Amazon Echo), and the mega etailer could be looking to do that once again with robots for your home.

Amazon has already developed robots for non-domestic purposes in the past. The lab is no stranger to many of Amazon's non-e-commerce and retail projects as it's responsible for the development of Echo speakers, Amazon Fire TV devices and Fire tablets.

Lab126 is said to have been working on the robot for several years, but the team recently began ramping up hiring for the initiative.

The secret program, "Vesta", is reportedly Amazon's plan to bring consumer-friendly robots to people's homes-and as early as 2019.

Amazon has been contacted for comment.

However, those close to the project say that Vesta could serve as a mobile Echo that can follow users around the home. Reportedly the robot prototypes have "advanced cameras and computer vision software" that allow it to "navigate through homes like a self-driving vehicle". Amazon has also hired specialized mechanical engineers from the robotics industry.

Bloomberg also reports the project is not anything like the robots designed by Amazon Robotics, which were created to move around goods in warehouses. That group is comprised of Amazon's acquisition of Kiva Systems, and mostly builds robots that help out in Amazon warehouses, moving products around for shipping. Sometimes they also work as a personal companion. Though it could be programmed to move around by an Apple II computer, it did little else and sold poorly. As Bloomberg points out, robotic vacuums - most specifically Roomba - are the most successful home service bots to date. LG showed off its 'Cloi' robot at CES this past year, but its repeated failures made it clear why consumers are not yet interested in shelling out for a self-navigating robot in the home.

It didn't do much other than bark. When combined with two-way audio capabilities, the camera - and likely soon an Amazon robot - can send you an alert so you can yell at your dog to get off the couch or greet your kid when they return home from school. Though, many do not make it far in the market.

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