Masterclassing

Amazon rumoured to be developing a domestic robot

David Murphy
Alexa could be just the start of Amazon's home automation ambitions

Amazon is rumoured to be pushing ahead with plans for a domestic robot. A Bloomberg report quotes “people familiar with the plans” as confirming that the device is codenamed ‘Vesta’ after the Roman goddess of the hearth, home and family, and says it is being developed by Amazon’s Lab126 hardware R&D division in California. This is the Amazon division behind the development of the Echo and the Fire tablets and set-top boxes.

These same people told Bloomberg that Amazon hopes to begin seeding the robots in employees’ homes by the end of this year, with a possible consumer launch the following year. They also “speculate that the Vesta robot could be a sort of mobile Alexa, accompanying customers in parts of their home where they don’t have Echo devices.” Prototypes of the robots have advanced cameras and computer vision software and can navigate through homes like a self-driving car, the report says.

The report mentions “dozens of listings on the Lab 126 Jobs page for openings like ‘Software Engineer, Robotics’ and ‘Principle Sensors Engineer’” though when clicked on now, most of these produce a 404 Page not found error message.