Amazon reportedly has a top-secret project that is said to be focused on building robots for the home.
According to a new report from Bloomberg, Amazon is said to be working on a domestic robot codenamed “Vesta” after the Roman goddess of family, hearth, and home. “Vesta” is said to be several years into development, with a release targeted for sometime next year.
The secret program being overseen by Amazon’s Lab126 hardware R&D division, where a number of the company’s current hardware products originated. Those products include hits like Amazon’s Echo speakers and Fire TV set-top boxes (though Lab126 is also responsible for the horrible Fire Phone).
“Vesta” prototypes can apparently navigate through homes using autonomous car technologies such as cameras and computer vision, though the robots’ sizes and locomotion systems are not specified. According to the report, Lab126 has hired robotics industry mechanical engineers to aid in the project and is still hiring sensor engineers and robotics software engineers.
The report didn’t say what sort of function the robot will have, only suggesting it might have features akin to an Amazon Echo. That suggests users might be able to speak with Amazon’s smart assistant, Alexa, through embedded microphones and speakers.
When asked about its “Vesta” program, an Amazon spokesperson told Bloomberg the company doesn’t comment on “rumors and speculation.”
If the leaked information turns out to be true, it wouldn’t be the first time Amazon has shown interest in the robotic category. Amazon already has a track record of successfully deploying robots in industrial applications, thanks to its 2012 acquisition of Kiva Systems.