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.
Delivery robots incorporating AI are on the march, being deployed more widely on the ground, sometimes crowding sidewalks. Delivery robot providers include Starship Technologies, a startup created by Janus Friis and Ahti Heinla, founders of Skype. The company offers a general-purpose home delivery robot that today is an array of cameras and GPS sensors, but in the future will include microphones, speaker, and the ability via AI-driven natural language processing, to talk to customers. Since 2016, Starship has carried out 50,000 delivers in over 100 cities across 20 countries, according to an account in SingularityHub written by Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, the founder of Singularity University and the founder and executive chairman of the XPrize Foundation. Another startup delivery provider is Nuro, co-founded by Jiajun Zhu, an engineer who helped develop Google's self-driving car.