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.'
Postmates has revealed a cute autonomous delivery robot called Serve, which seems to take a design cue or two from Wall-E, with its big eyes and yellow finish. While the company has tested third-party autonomous delivery options in the past, it decided to build Serve from the ground up. When Serve shows up at your front door or office, you'll use your phone or a code to unlock the compartment and retrieve your items. The robot can carry up to 50 pounds of goods and can travel up to 30 miles on a single charge. Postmates also plans to collect items with Serve (especially in busy areas) and return them to its delivery hubs so delivery drivers can bring them to you.
Serve is Postmates' new automated delivery robot, developed to help make the company's on-demand deliveries more efficient. SEE ALSO: Is the face-swapping robot with multiple'personalities' cool or just plain creepy? It'll ride along sidewalks and can carry up to 50 lbs, traveling 25 miles on a single charge. There's dynamic lighting in the eyes and a light ring up top to indicate movement, while customers can interact with Serve using a touchscreen and cameras mounted on top of the robot. Serve will launch first in the Los Angeles area, and will gradually rollout to the other U.S. cities its over the next 12 months.
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.
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.