Amazon Vesta project looks set to ramp up for production | GeekComparison

echo recorded to roomba
enlarge / In 2018, Jeff Bezos’ kids taped an ultrasound to a Roomba. foreshadowing?

In a paywall report released Wednesday morning, Insider broke the news about massive teams of employees and an uncertain future for Amazon’s Vesta home robot.

Widespread reports of Vesta — named after the Roman goddess of home and hearth — started surfacing in April 2018, when it was already a year-old project. The final shape is still uncertain, but prototypes are now underway – one is described as “the size of two little cats” with multiple cameras, a screen and a microphone. Insider’s sources described it as a Fire tablet on wheels, with the ability to move around the house and respond to voice commands.

That design may still be subject to change – which probably wouldn’t be the first time, as the project has faced repeated delays since its inception. Insider’s sources didn’t seem too clear on what Vesta’s “real” function would be and offered a shotgun explosion of ideas. One such idea was a “mobile conferencing platform for the home office” – allowing the user to roam around their home while being followed by the screen, camera and microphone on wheels. They also came up with ideas such as plug-ins to measure temperature, humidity and air quality; a camera on a medium-height retractable pole that can locate lost items using machine learning vision; and a small compartment to carry things.

Vesta’s initial sales forecasts aren’t optimistic and Amazon may decide to launch it as a limited edition invite-only project to mitigate inventory risk. (The company took a $170 million write-off on unsold Fire Phones in 2014.)

Amazon seems serious about finishing Vesta and bringing it to market anyway. The quirky project now has a team of over 800 employees, strongly implying a product launch in the coming quarters and a need for technical support.

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