Amazon Ramps Up Robotics Efforts


Amazon is working on a secret project codenamed “Vesta” to build a domestic robot. The endeavor is led by Gregg Zehr, who heads up Amazon’s Lab126, Bloomberg reported.

While the Vesta project started a few years ago, Amazon has recently focused on hiring efforts for the endeavor. As of now, there are several dozen listings within Lab126 for robotics-related jobs, such as “Principal Sensors Engineer” and “Software Engineer, Robotics.” According to people familiar with Amazon’s plans, the company is seeking to bring robots into employee homes this year. In addition, robots could come to the homes of customers in 2019.

A spokesperson for Amazon declined to elaborate on the robotic plans to Bloomberg, saying the company won’t comment on “rumors and speculation.”

The news comes as Amazon said it would be opening a robotics-based warehouse in South Florida in 2018. The 850,000-square-foot facility will be staffed by robots, with 1,000 human workers handling operations.

In addition to its Miami-Dade location, this new warehouse project comprises one of the largest warehouses south of the city of Tampa. Sitting on 97 acres, Amazon’s new robotics-based warehouse will be located next to the Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport.

Amazon hopes this new warehouse will help bolster same-day delivery to Amazon customers in the Tampa, Florida, area. Shevaun Brown, Amazon’s communications manager, commented on this potential delivery option to The Miami Herald.

“We haven’t confirmed shipping options just yet, but in many cities where we have large fulfillment centers, we offer same-day service,” Brown said.

With the opening of this new facility, and alongside news of Amazon’s Whole Foods and acquisitions, it appears the eCommerce giant is moving full steam ahead — and that it doesn’t have plans of slowing down in the near future.