By 2020, people thought the autonomous car would whisk you to the office while you read the paper and tackle your emails, then taking you home from the bar on a Friday evening. That remains lodged somewhere in the pipeline for now. But another slice of science fiction is on the way – robots that deliver your food -- and it's already knocking at the door. Robotic food delivery (or, increasingly, the delivery of anything that fits into a robot) is being tackled by a wide range of companies, from garage startups to retail giants. Many use six-wheeled robots designed to drive themselves along the sidewalk and the pathways of business parks and college campuses.
Amazon is rolling out self-driving delivery robots. The internet giant announced Wednesday that six'Scout' robots will deliver packages to customers in a neighborhood in Snohomish County, Washington. Each Scout robot is a squat, bright blue device that gets around on six wheels. The battery-powered devices about the size of a small cooler and can deliver packages autonomously. And city or suburban dwellers don't have to worry about Scout running them over on the street, as Amazon says the robots'roll along sidewalks at a walking pace.'
Earlier this year, Amazon announced its Scout sidewalk delivery robot. At the time, details were sparse, except for the fact that the company had started to make deliveries in a neighborhood in Washington State. Today, at Amazon's re:Mars conference, I sat down with Sean Scott, the VP in charge of Scout, to talk about how his team built the robot, how it finds its way around and what its future looks like. These relatively small blue robots could be roaming a sidewalk near you soon, though as of now, Amazon isn't quite ready to talk about when and where it will expand its network from its single neighborhood to other areas. "For the last decade, we've invested billions of dollars in cargo planes and delivery vans, fulfillment center robots, and last holiday period, we shipped over a billion products with Prime free shipping," Scott told me.
A fleet of Amazon'Scout' delivery robots will roam the streets of Southern California as part of the firm's largest trial of automated'last mile' delivery. Last-mile delivery is the last stage of getting a package from a warehouse to your door, traditionally completed by a van or truck. Retailers and courier firms are racing to automate this process through the use of drones, either by land or by air. Amazon's latest roll-out follows a successful trial conducted in a small neighbourhood in Washington state earlier this year. Each Scout robot is a squat, bright blue device that gets around on six wheels.
Amazon has revealed its latest autonomous delivery project -- a six-wheeled boxy robot named Amazon Scout. The e-commerce giant said the all-electric devices were created in-house at Amazon's research and development lab in Seattle, and are about the size of a small cooler. The bots are meant to travel on sidewalks at an average walking pace, delivering packages "in daylight hours" between Monday and Friday. Only six Scout delivery robots are currently being tested in a single neighborhood in Snohomish County, Washington. According to Amazon, human supervisors will accompany the robots during the early stages of the trial to ensure that the devices can properly navigate around obstacles like people and pets.