From Kindle to Echo, Amazon is no stranger to revolutionizing convenience. They were the first to provide customers with a universal online shopping cart and the booming popularity of Amazon Alexa has made the average American almost disturbingly comfortable with talking to a computer. Bloomberg reports that the newest, top-secret project is called “Vesta,” named for the the Roman goddess of the hearth, home and family, and involves the research and development of domestic robots.
Gregg Zehr, who runs Amazon’s Lab126 hardware research and development division based in Sunnyvale, California, is in charge of the classified project, and Lab 126 is responsible for Echo speakers, Fire TV set-top-boxes, Fire tablets, and the Fire phone, which never got much traction. Zehr supposedly has plans to start putting robots in Amazon employees’ homes by 2019 even though the ambitious project was created only a few years ago.
The secretive nature of Lab126 makes it difficult to understand exactly what they are trying to get their robots to do, but it will differ significantly from the robots made in Massachusetts and Germany by Amazon Robotics, whose robots are made specifically for Amazon’s warehouse tasks like moving products. “Vesta” is believed to be geared towards the home, like if Alexa had advanced cameras and computer vision software that helped her navigate through your home and assist you in any room.
Though advances in technology make the climate more conductive to building robots than ever, robotics has been a department of failure for most, with Roomba, who does nothing but vacuum, being the most commercially successful self-navigating technology on the market. But if robotics are the future, we would be silly to think Amazon wouldn’t try to lead the charge.