Amazon is reportedly getting more serious about building a home robot powered by its Alexa voice assistant. Bloomberg reports that while the robot isn’t ready for mass production, Amazon recently brought in engineers from other projects to work on it, suggesting a push for commercialization. Sources say Amazon’s robot prototypes are about waist-high and can be summoned with voice commands, with the device using a camera array and computer vision software to find its way around.
As The Verge points out, a similar-sounding product called Temi is available already—with Alexa voice controls and all—but at a price of $2,000 it’s probably more of a fit for commercial applications. It’s also unclear how a robot would be more useful (or more cost-efficient) than, say, a handful of strategically-placed Echo speakers or Echo Show smart displays. Building robots with enough fine motor skill to perform household chores remains a major technological challenge.
In the nearer term, Amazon’s also reportedly working on a high-end Echo speaker to take on Apple’s HomePod, Google’s Home Max, and the Sonos One for later this year. The company may also announce minor upgrades to its existing Echo line in the fall.