Just two days after the Westworld Season 2 premiere and Amazon is already attempting to make its own robots. But seriously, the company is taking its virtual assistant, Alexa, to the next level by putting her into a robot for the home.
The news comes from Bloomberg, which reports that the project, codenamed "Vesta" for the Roman goddess of the hearth, was thought up a few years ago but has really kicked into high gear by hiring engineers who understand robotic software and something called "principle sensors."
Vesta is being handled by Gregg Zehr, the head of Amazon’s Lab126 hardware research and development division in Sunnyvale, California. Since Vesta is technically a top-secret endeavor, not much is known about it at this time. However, those acquainted with it have guessed that the Alexa robot will follow people around the house, particularly into places where they don't have stationary echo devices available.
Devices in Amazon's Alexa ecosystem and featuring Google's virtual assistant are becoming more and more ubiquitous with each passing year — and putting those skills into something more akin to a robot certainly looks like the next logical step. What will really be interesting is to see how it starts to change our perception of these virtual assistants, and the way we interact with them. Who knows? We could be just a year or two away from issuing the command "Alexa, get me a beer." Welcome to the future, y'all.
If all goes well, Amazon could send prototypes to the homes of employees by the end of the year and could even roll out a consumer model by 2019.