Amazon is still working on a mobile home robot, according to a report by BloombergMark Gurman. It is also planned to add a high-end echo to its range of Alexa devices.
We first heard about Amazon's project to build a wheeled household robot last April. The project would have been codenamed "Vesta" (after the Roman goddess of the outbreak), and rumors suggest that it's "a kind of" Alexa mobile "able to track users at home.
Today's report does not add much to this image, but it seems that Amazon still wants to create the mobile device. Apparently, its launch was planned for this year, but it was not ready for mass production. Engineers would have been drawn from other projects to work on Vesta, and Gurman reports that the prototypes "turn above the waist and navigate using many computer vision cameras". They can also be summoned using voice commands.
This (albeit vague) description is actually quite close to some existing products. A startup called Temi sells a "personal robot" with similar features, for example. Temi the robot is at the waist, has a built-in screen to display information and can be controlled with Alexa. With a starting price of $ 1,999, it does not really target consumers, but rather companies that want to use the bot as a guide in their stores and offices.
In addition to its mystery robot, Amazon would also work on a high-end device, Echo, which should be available next year. Bloomberg indicates that the cylindrical loudspeaker is wider than existing Echo products in order to be able to contain additional components, and that it could be launched alongside a high fidelity version of the music streaming service. Amazon.
As is always the case with such reports, these products might never see the light of day. A mobile home robot is a particularly difficult sale. Over the past year, a number of companies offering domestic robots have collapsed, including Anki, the maker of the cute Vector robot and followed by a caterpillar, and Jibo Inc., the company behind the social robot Jibo.