It's not entirely clear what a robot would do, but those who spoke to Bloomberg speculated it could be Alexa on wheels, allowing people to bring Amazon's voice assistant with them around the home. The prototype robots "can navigate through homes like a self-driving auto", according to the report. They claim that Amazon has been working on this project - codenamed Vesta - for a few years now, but just recently started to ramp up hiring for it. Amazon's Lab126 is heading up development on the robot, which is also responsible for creating devices like the Echo and the Fire tablet. Alexa responds to spoken commands and questions.
If a "top-secret" Amazon plan comes to fruition, the online retail giant's next big thing might be home robots.
If Amazon does establish a house robot, it'll function as the provider's latest product which attracts it into our own domiciles.
It's worth mentioning that Amazon already offers a portable Echo speaker with Alexa called the Amazon Tap, which costs about $130 - likely a bit less than a roaming robot with computer vision. That company continues to develop impressive animal-like robots, but it hasn't really produced anything other than occasional videos that terrify the internet.
The company has a robotics division that builds the industrial machines that do automated work in its warehouses, but this project is being overseen by Gregg Zehr, president of Amazon's Lab126.
While the Vesta project is in its early stages, Amazon is said to be looking at trying out the robots in some employees' homes this year, and could possibly put Vesta robots on sale by 2019.