Amazon is developing robots for the home that could become available as early as 2019.
That's according to Bloomberg, which suggests that the company is hoping to have models available in time for Christmas 2019. It claims that the company already has working prototypes and could rush out the first modesl early in 2019, rather than later.
The development is codenamed "Vesta", according to Bloomberg, and is being run by Gregg Zehr, who heads up the company's Lab126 research division.
Clues to the upcoming project aren't that hard to find. Lab126 went on a robotics expert hiring spree last year with job titles like "Sensors Engineer" and "Senior Robotics Engineer" being advertised under the Lab126 name, to divert attention from Amazon as the parent.
So what exactly will an Amazon robot do? Although we are a bit closer to robots that can do chores for us, for the most part, they're simply not dextrous enough, and so realistically, an Amazon robot would probably be little more than an Amazon Echo on wheels.
They would have 'computer vision' and would learn the layout of a home, much like a robot vacuum cleaner.
And this of course.
Amazon said that it doesn't comment on "rumours and speculation". As such we can't confirm that there project will even come to anything, leave alone if those timescales will stand, but the very fact the company is thinking in those terms is kind of a big deal.
Amazon, along with a number of other companies, such as Ocado, has been working on robots for some time but these tend to be aimed more towards fulfilment within warehouses, rather than 'your plastic pal who's fun to be with'.
Despite being a dream of sci-fi (and comedy) writers for decades, the reality of this, whatever it turns out to me, is likely to underwhelming.
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