Amazon is Developing Home Robots

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Amazon is Developing Home Robots

Unnamed sources claim that Amazon is working on a home robot that will be unveiled later this year. The project is code named “Vesta” after the Roman goddess of the hearth, and it comes Amazon's Lab126, the same department behind Alexa.

Amazon is working on another piece of future tech we have long been promised —robots for the home, reports Bloomberg.

The retail and cloud computing mega corporation has embarked on an ambitious, top-secret plan to build a domestic robot, according to people familiar with the plans.

The “Vesta,” project is overseen by Gregg Zehr, who heads Amazon’s Lab126 hardware research and development division based in Sunnyvale, California. Lab126 is responsible for Amazon devices such as the Echo speakers, Fire TV set-top-boxes, Fire tablets and the ill-fated Fire Phone.

Vesta was the Roman goddess of the hearth, home and family. Perhaps hinting at the the form factor the robot will take, she was rarely depicted in human form, and was often personified by the fire of her temple in the Forum Romanum.

Amazon's project started a few years ago, but this year Amazon began to aggressively ramp up recruitment for the team. There are dozens of listings on the Lab 126 Jobs page for openings like “Software Engineer, Robotics” and “Principle Sensors Engineer.” 
So far, those briefed on the plan say the company hopes to begin seeding the robots in employees’ homes by the end of this year, and potentially with consumers as early as 2019, though the timeline could change, and Amazon hardware projects are sometimes killed during gestation.

It is not certain what tasks an Amazon robot is being designed for. People familiar with the project 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. Former Apple executive Max Paley is leading the work on computer vision. Amazon has also hired specialized mechanical engineers from the robotics industry.

The project distinct from the robots designed by Amazon Robotics, a company subsidiary, in Massachusetts and Germany, people familiar with the project say. Amazon Robotics deploys robots in Amazon warehouses to move around goods and originated as a company called Kiva Systems, which Amazon acquired in 2012 for $775 million.

Amazon so far hasn't commented on the report telling Bloomberg it doesn't comment on "rumors and speculation."

SOURCE  Bloomberg

By  33rd Square