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Amazon Vesta project seems to be ramping up for production


echo taped to roomba
Enlarge / In 2018, Jeff Bezos’ kids taped an Echo to a Roomba. Foreshadowing?

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

Widespread reports of Vesta—named after the Roman goddess of home and hearth—began emerging in April 2018, by which time it was already a years-old project. Its final form is still uncertain, but there are prototypes now—one being described as “the size of two small cats” with multiple cameras, a screen, and a mic. 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 could still be subject to change—which wouldn’t likely be the first time, as the project has suffered repeated delays since inception. Insider’s sources didn’t seem too clear on what the “real” function of Vesta would be and offered a shotgun blast of ideas. One such idea was a “mobile meeting platform for the home office”—allowing the user to wander around their home while followed by the screen, camera, and mic on wheels. They also floated ideas like plug-ins to measure temperature, humidity, and air quality; a camera on a waist-high retractable pole that could find lost items using machine-learning vision; and a small compartment to carry things with.

Initial sales projections of Vesta aren’t optimistic, and Amazon might decide to launch it as a limited edition, invite-only project to limit its inventory risk. (The company took a $170 million write-off on unsold Fire Phones in 2014.)

Amazon seems serious about finishing Vesta and getting it to market, regardless. The quirky project now has an 800+ employee team, strongly implying ramp-up for a product launch and the associated need for technical support sometime in the next few quarters.



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