Amazon is currently working on a domestic robot − an Echo with legs (or wheels), if you like − it has been reported.
The company is planning to bring it to consumers’ homes in 2019, according to Bloomberg, which cites people familiar with Amazon’s plans.
Related: Google Home vs Amazon Echo
It isn’t clear what the robot, codenamed Vesta, will be capable of doing, but early prototypes are said to be equipped with “advanced cameras and computer vision software”, and capable of navigating through homes “like a self-driving car”.
It would make sense for it to share similarities with Amazon’s extremely successful line of Echo smart speakers, which are powered by the company’s digital assistant Alexa. If this does indeed turn out to be the case, Vesta could follow you around your home, taking your requests and answering your queries like a robotic Jeeves.
It sounds impressive, but given the backlash over privacy that we’ve seen against big tech companies in the past few weeks, we’re not sure quite how well this news is going to go down with much of the industry.
Some people already find always-listening smart speakers like the Echo invasive enough. For Amazon to then equip it with a camera and give it the ability to follow you around sounds more than a little creepy.
The firm is reportedly still in the process of hiring “dozens” of people to work on the product, but it hopes to begin testing it in Amazon employees’ homes later this year.
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