At first Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) launched the Kindle to encourage people to read on digital devices. This was ten years ago. Four years ago, the company unveiled the Echo, which made it possible for people to talk on computers. The company is currently working on yet another huge bet: home robots.
The company, a giant in retail and cloud computing, is currently working on an ambitious plan to develop a domestic robot. The whole project is still a top secret plan. Gregg Zehr, who is in charge of the company’s Lab126 hardware research and development section that is based in Sunnyvale, California, is in charge of the project. The project has been codenamed “Vesta” after Roman goddess of the home, hearth, and family. Lab126 is Amazon division and the brainchild behind devices like Fire tablets, Fire TV set-top-boxes and Echo speakers.
The concept of Vesta came some years back but it’s only this year that the company started hiring in preparation for the roll out. The company has listed a number of jobs on the Lab 126 Jobs page, some of which suggest that the company is about to roll out the implementation of the project. These include “Principle Sensors Engineer” and “Software Engineer, Robotics.”
According to people close to the project, the company is hoping to start placing the robots in the homes of employees by the end of 2018 and will be available to consumers by 2019. These times could however change. Amazon’s spokesperson declined to comment on the development saying that the company does not comment on rumors.
Its remains unclear of the tasks that will be performed by the Amazon robot. However, people close to the project have indicated that the robot will be in a form of a mobile Alexa, and will accompany customers in some sections of theirs homes where they can’t access Echo. The prototypes of the robot have been made with cameras as well as computer-supported vision software and are able to navigate through homes just like driverless cars. The work on computer vision is being spearheaded by Max Paley, a former Apple executive.