Well, it looks like we’re one step closer to the apocalyptic vision portrayed in I, Robot, and none other than Amazon is behind it. Jeff Bezos and his company have top secret plans to begin testing robots for the home later this year, according to a report from Bloomberg.
The tech giant has reportedly codenamed the project “Vesta,” named after the Roman goddess of the hearth, the home, and family. According to sources close to the project, it’s being developed by Lab126, the Amazon hardware R&D center that previously built the Kindle, Fire Phone, and Echo. The Vesta project reportedly began a few years back, but now Amazon is pulling out all the stops to get robots in the homes of some employees by the end of this year and into your house as early as 2019.
It’s unclear what the robot could look like, but Bloomberg reported it could be a sort of mobile Alexa, and that prototypes are being built with advanced cameras and computer software. Prototypes can also navigate around the home much like a self-driving car. It doesn’t seem like this will be the butler robot of our dreams a la The Jetsons, but more likely a type of virtual assistant that can move, like an Amazon Echo on wheels.
Some of these kinds of robots already exist, as the Verge pointed out, including LG’s Hub bot, Mayfield Robotics’ Kuri, and the Pixar-like Jibo. It’s too early to tell what the goal of this new Amazon robot is, perhaps just to make smart homes more intuitive, but with them testing the technology later this year, we’ll know soon enough.