Amazon is developing a robot for houses that would move around the home and have Alexa compatibility, but employees are reportedly concerned that the project will fail following shifting strategies and delays to launch dates.
The robot, which has the codename “Vesta”, will be able to be controlled by voice and will have a built-in camera according to a Bloomberg report from 2019, that would have it interact with the smart-home.
Yet despite being one of the biggest developments for Lab126, which previously developed Amazon’s Kindle, Echo speakers, and Alexa voice assistant, employees are reportedly concerned that the project will fail, according to Insider.
“People are very skeptical — we’re worried it could turn into another Fire Phone,” one of the people reportedly said, referencing the company’s attempt at a smartphone that eventually saw it write off $83 million of Fire Phone inventory in 2014.
Vesta is currently being prototyped, is apparently the size of “two small cats” (10 to 13 inches wide), and will come with multiple cameras, a screen, and a microphone, although it is reported that the design could change.
Some of these new designs could include retractable pole with a camera that could move up and down, which could be used to find missing items using computer vision.
It could also include plug-ins and widgets to measure home temperature, air quality, and humidity, as well as a small compartment so it can carry items around.
While Amazon does not disclose hardware sales, the company’s projections for sales of the Vesta are said to be low. Amazon could potentially launch it as an invite-only product in a similar way to its health band Halo, in order to reduce the risk of unsold inventory.
Amazon might also pitch the device for home-office use, which would let people take meetings virtually while walking around their home.
The concerns about Vesta’s marketability, however, come from whether the product can appeal to mainstream customers, as the price tag for Vesta is expected to be more expensive than other devices.
Amazon has reportedly moved Vesta’s suppliers from China to Mexico to cut expenses, but the move has caused production issues over quality and training, according to the report.
Amazon did not respond to a request for comment from The Independent before time of publication.
Vesta is not the only peculiar product Amazon is launching for the home. In September, Amazon’s Ring subsidiary announced a drone that flies around the home to check whether the users’ home is secure, which can check for windows left unopen or kitchen appliances still turned on.