A long-running obsession of tech aficionados could come sooner than expected to the home at the hand of Amazon. Bloomberg first reported that Amazon’s Lab126 is working in a domestic robot and have the intention of sending the first prototypes to employees’ homes as early as later this year.
Bloomberg, citing sources “familiar with the plans,” described the robot as “a sort of mobile Alexa,” with prototypes having a navigation system that made them autonomous in home environments.
The speculation about the project, codenamed “Vesta” after the Roman goddess of home and heart, was fueled by the jobs listed in Lab126 such as “Software Engineer, Robotics” and “Principle Sensors Engineer.”
Bloomberg reports that consumers could test “Vesta” as early as 2019 even though the technology to produce a fully-autonomous robot still doesn’t exist. A home robot could currently look more like a mobile interface to a controlling software for smart homes. Prototypes of other products, like LG’s Hub bot, Mayfield Robotics’ Kuri, and Jibo already offer similar functionalities like the ones described by the Vesta insiders.
What the announcement did was put investors on notice. After Bloomberg broke the story, iRobot’s share went down 5.5%, according to Marketwatch, a testament to the power Amazon yields over the tech market.
Finally, it is important to notice that any project nested in Lab126 could change before it arrives to market, or even be dropped.