According to Bloomberg, tech giant Amazon might have a top secret project in the works that could invade our homes as early as next year. Rumor has it that Amazon is working on the next iteration of its home assistant, and that the project could make your Alexa a mobile smart home device.
While robotics is certainly not a new area of study, it has had a hard time busting into the consumer market space. With the arrival of the Amazon Echo four years ago – and the Google Home and Apple HomePod that followed – that market is now growing, rapidly.
Robots – in some shape or form – have been in our homes for years now, even before the Echo hit the market and convinced us all that talking to inanimate objects was not a sign of a mental health issue. We’ve been using Roombas and iRobot since the early 2000s. While smart home tech has brought out the robot in otherwise static products like our locks, fridges, ovens and lights, it was really the Amazon Echo that helped crack the market and define the future of robotics in our homes. As the industry is evolving quickly, it seems logical that the next step would be a mobile smart home robot. Amazon seems to be best positioned to be the company that leads that next step, and if you believe the hype, they agree. They have the trust of consumers in a space that is tough, and they have a history of making high-tech products that are accessible and affordable to the general public.
Their top secret project is reportedly referred to as “Vesta” and the details point toward a domestic robot. This project has been in the works from years, according to reports, and is shifting into high gear recently with potential employee testing about to launch.
Here’s what we know so far (spoiler alert: it’s not much):
- We don’t really know what the main goal of the Vesta would be
- We expect that the device will be Alexa-enabled and independently mobile
- It’s still TBD how Vesta will interact with current Echo devices – will it replace those since it can travel around the house or is it meant to compliment those devices?
- It is rumored that Vesta will include mobility software for vision and navigations
- No one is expecting a full-on butler-style robot (think Rosie from the Jetsons)…for this generation at least
We’ll have to keep our eye on the progress of this project, and prepare for the opportunity to test Vesta out as early as next year in our own homes. It will be interesting to see how they introduce this product to the market. The opened Echo orders to Prime members only as part of their beta test, and tangible updates were made to the product and pricing through that testing. Maybe they will offer Vesta first to Prime members that already have Echo in their home.
So, what do you think? Are you ready for a mobile Alexa to follow you around in your home?