It may be that Amazon’s paths are inscrutable in terms of hardware, but what is becoming clear is that they still have much more to launch and out of the entertainment world and more focused on Alexa, their voice assistant. The next frontier? The home, because it seems that Amazon works in a domestic robot.
Thus, after electronic books, tablets, TV sticks, loudspeakers and some other incursion that did not prosper (such as smartphones), the king of e-commerce would be considering extending his foray into home automation and personal assistance. In the absence of confirmation by Amazon is not known exactly where the shots will go, but pulling fonts and names in code is drawn something that goes beyond the Echo (static) speakers.
Robots traveling as autonomous cars
Specifically, we talk about the sources of Bloomberg, a publication that talks about a project called “Vesta” that has existed for years, but it would not have been until the present when Amazon would have started to push its development more aggressively. “Vesta”, which comes from the Roman pasture of love, family and home (there the possible nod) responds to a project led by Gregg Zehr, who in turn runs the Amazon Lab 126 (a division of research and development of the company in California).
This division has been behind some of those devices that we mentioned in the introduction, such as Fire TV, Fire tablets and Echo speakers (as well as that Fire Phone that did not prosper), hence the river sounds a lot in terms of the materialization of this robot.
But what is not clear is what kind of robot it will be or what tasks it will be able to perform, although apparently the prototypes integrate advanced cameras and computer vision software, being able to navigate like autonomous cars. Hence, according to Bloomberg sources (close to the project) could be a kind of mobile Alexa, so that would accompany users around the house being able to be useful where there is no Echo device.
Another aspect that has raised suspicions is the usual increase in the supply of jobs, as well as some hiring. Recruitment offers in relation to software engineers, robotics, sensors and other matters that have been added to Lab 126 since the beginning of the year and that would be added to the hiring of specialized personnel in the robotic industry that according to Bloomberg have done, among which is Max Paley directing the work in computer vision (former Apple executive).
Some robots that we would not be long in knowing
So, more than the nth robot vacuum cleaner, whose proposals we are seeing in more and more brands, it would be a robot almost of company, more in the role of general assistant of the constant home. Maybe similar to CLOi, the robot that presented LG at CES Las Vegas this year and that had central control tasks of home devices among other roles, such as the Zenbo of ASUS and after all as a kind of Google Home mobile.
Given the lack of confirmation by Amazon, we can not speak of an imminent release. From the company they limit themselves to saying that they do not add comments to the “rumors and speculations”.
But despite this, sources close to the project say that the robots will start shipping by 2018 to the employees’ homes (at the end of the year), sending shipments to customers starting in early 2019. Nothing definitive, dates may be delayed or we may not finally see it on the street, whether or not this first phase starts in the employees’ homes, but although there seems to be work left with the attending robots (watching the demos of the that we have mentioned), in the case of Amazon, nothing can be ruled out, so we will remain vigilant.