Amazon said to be developing a domestic robot

Not content with persuading us to install a listening device in our homes, Amazon is reportedly working on something that will follow you around your house.

The claim comes from Bloomberg, which has been chatting to those handy ‘people close to the matter’ who crop up every now and then with top tips. Apparently this project is very hush-hush and has been fermenting for a few years. The inference from Bloomberg’s sources and job listings for Lab 126 is that the project is now ramping rapidly.

Lab 126 is Amazon’s device R&D centre, responsible for things like the kindle and the Echo (the less said about the Fire Phone the better). It is now looking for an Applied Robotics Scientist, and has another couple of robot-related vacancies that seem to have had their job specs taken down, perhaps in response to this leak.

But the animatronic cat is out of the bag, Amazon, you might as well own up. As is so often the case Amazon apparently intends to start using its own employees as guinea pigs for this 3D personal assistant by the end of this year. At the very least it will be a way of putting the Alexa voice assistant on wheels, so you need never be without assistance – even in the bog!

Further rumours suggest the robot will use the kind of sensor technology associated with autonomous vehicles to get around the house and that it could perform basic tasks like fetching stuff, like bog roll. Never again will be have to suffer the indignity of having to waddle out of the bathroom because a selfish family member used up the last of the bog roll and didn’t replace it.

Nobody else seems to have anything on this rumour, although ZDNet notes that Amazon already has much of the infrastructure in place to make this happen. At a time when many people are pretty creeped out about how much information tech giants have on all of us this leak must be pretty awkward for Amazon. If the rumour is true it will be intriguing to see how Amazon goes about persuading us to let its spy-bots into our homes.