KEY POINTS

  • The Vesta is said to be an "Alexa-powered home roaming device"
  • Sources claimed that it's one of Amazon's biggest initiatives so far
  • People working on it are concerned about its market appeal

Rumors about Amazon's home robot project dubbed "Vesta" began circulating a few years back. Many have expressed their doubts about the project, citing the setbacks it has experienced. But a recent leak revealed that the company has already allocated substantial resources to the long-rumored project.

According to a report from Business Insider, which claimed to have reviewed leaked internal documents from Amazon's research and development arm called Lab126, more than 800 employees have already been assigned to work on the "Alexa-powered home-roaming device." Unfortunately, no other details about its functionality have been revealed.

However, because of production delays, some groups involved in the Vesta's design and creation are now concerned about its market appeal. They are worried that it might end up like the Fire Phone, which cost Amazon almost $200 million and is so far one of the biggest failures of the company.

"People are very skeptical — we're worried it could turn into another Fire Phone," an unnamed employee told the publication.

The group handling this venture into robotics is the same one behind other successful Amazon products, such as the Kindle, Alexa and Echo.

Team members who requested to remain anonymous claimed that the Vesta is one of the company's biggest initiatives so far. Information surrounding the Vesta is extremely hard to come by as the online retail giant opts to keep everything under wraps.

Leading the Vesta project is Lab126 President Greg Zehr. Its name came from the Roman goddess of the family, home and hearth.

A prototype of the device is described as a "Fire tablet mounted on wheels," according to unidentified sources who have seen the machine. Its idea is said to be close to what is pictured in an Instagram post made by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in 2018: an Echo smart speaker taped to an iRobot Roomba.

A few years ago, Amazon considered the Vesta as a "top priority" project, a report from SlashGear said. Perhaps it will combine the best features that smart speakers and displays can offer and integrate them into a mobile robot that owners can command via Alexa.

Amazon Amazon is the target of lawsuit accusing the global retail giant of keeping women and Black employees down while publicly talking up the need for diversity and social justice Photo: AFP / INA FASSBENDER