There is nothing more sci-fi than robots. One could argue that building robots that interact with people could be one of the most challenging products to create. Some of the closest things we have to robotic assistants are virtual assistants such as Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa. Even though they have been around for many years, it seems that only recently have consumers started to accept the awkwardness associated with talking to them.
Despite the rough start that virtual assistants have had up to this point, rumor has it that Amazon is working on something much more daunting – the development of physical robots for in-home use.
According to a report published by Bloomberg, people working on the project refer to it using the codename, “Vesta.” The report does not clarify what purpose these robots may serve, but it is not hard to imagine that the initial functions that the devices ship with could be added to over time via software updates just like we currently experience with virtual assistants.
On the surface, it does not seem that Amazon would be the type of company pursuing this type of product. Most consumers consider Amazon to be the online superstore that allows them to shop from anywhere with the promise that they will receive their items within 2 days or less.
Amazon has shown over time, however, that it is not afraid to venture into new markets. Some of which are wildly successful, while some are complete failures. Successful hardware releases include Fire tablets, Fire TV, Kindle, Echo, and more. One of the standout failures was the Fire Phone which was released in 2014. The phone received mixed reviews and was discontinued by Amazon one year after its release.
Amazon’s hardware is known for being priced much lower than the competition with the intent of selling its services. That being said, it is not hard to imagine that these robots may be quite affordable with the goal of encouraging customers to rely more heavily on the services that the tech giant offers.
Amazon plans to start testing the devices in employee homes by the end of the 2018, according to today’s report, suggesting that we may not be too far from the debut. It is also worth noting that Amazon may decide to pause or halt the project at any time. Many companies have tried to release robots for the home, but up to this point, only robot vacuums have been somewhat successful.