Since The Jetsons, the idea of a robot servant that cares for all of our needs has been deeply engrained in the minds of many people. And naturally, lots of companies and tech firms have tried to realize that fantasy over the years. The problem has been tackled by large tech giants like Samsung, and promising startups lead by robotic experts and AI researchers. Unfortunately, nearly all of these attempts have still ended in relative failure. Robots that can serve needs more complex than providing weather updates are still a whim of the future.
However, it seems that Amazon wants to try their hand at introducing advanced robot aides to your home. Allegedly, the company is working on a home robot that has been code-named ‘Vesta.’ It’s supposed to be a mobile version of Alexa that could follow you around your home. Apparently, prototypes are around waist height, using computer vision to navigate around obstacles in the home. We don’t know when it was originally supposed to be announced or revealed, but Bloomberg says it was supposed to be sometime this year.
It’s hardly impossible for Amazon to succeed on this front, but it is worth noting that several companies have come before and ultimately failed to achieve a similar goal. Even Anki, a startup borne of three Carnegie Melon Robotics Institute alumni, failed to do exactly this. Many other startups failed as well, and even large companies like Asus and LG have made ventures into home robotics territory, only to ultimately fail.
And while Amazon may have blazed a trail in many ways, with excellent products like the Kindle and Echo, this venture may end in total failure for them as well, though for a particular reason; it’s possible that no one even wants a home robot.
The problem is, with all these robots that perform basic functions like Alexa or Siri, why would you pay more money for a robot when your cheaper smartphone or smart speaker can do the same thing? Some smart speakers, like the Echo, are available for extremely cheap, whereas a waist high super advanced robot would cost hundreds of dollars. Unless these home robots can do things no other product can, their existence and price tag aren’t validated.
Of course, there are other concerns as well, such as building a robot that can transition between carpet and hard wood floors, and it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to assume that people might not want a robot following them around the house, with consumer privacy concerns as high as they are right now.
Regardless, this is one of the few times we could seriously question whether or not Amazon is making a good move, and if they’ll even succeed. At this point, one can wonder if they’ll even continue the project long enough to unveil it sometime down the line.