Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) continues to lead in innovation, and its latest endeavor is smart and adorable. Scout is the company’s latest self-driving delivery service. The latest robot delivery car is the size of a small cooler and operates along sidewalks.
Amazon Tests Scout
The Seattle-based company is testing its new robots in the suburbs north of Seattle. Amazon believes this could solve the last-mile of delivery, which is a labor intensive and costly component of buying products online.
The robots will use six wheels, which are designed to navigate around obstacles such as pets and people. Scout will make deliveries Monday through Friday in daylight hours.
“The devices will autonomously follow their delivery route but will initially be accompanied by an Amazon employee,” Amazon said in a statement. “We developed Amazon Scout at our research and development lab in Seattle, ensuring the devices can safely and efficiently navigate around pets, pedestrians and anything else in their path.”
Amazon has been working on delivery by autonomous drone for years. Currently, the company uses robots to move inventory in its vast warehouses across the US.
Not everyone seems impressed with these super cute robots though. Dan Kara, VP of Robotics at WTWH Media told Bloomberg that deliveries with robots are much more challenging than Amazon is leading on.
“These might work in a brand new neighborhood that is well lit and has new sidewalks, but most of the world isn’t like that and neither is most of the United States,” Kara said. “Congratulations for experimenting, but in terms of full implementation, I don’t see that any time soon.”
It remains unknown at this time where Amazon plans on using these robots, as crowded cities would probably not be best suited. The company is looking to be less reliant on delivery truck drivers, as online ordering has ramped up the last few years, stretching the drivers’ time.
In addition, Amazon has begun hiring freelance drivers to deliver packages for them instead. While ‘Scout’ may not be practical in big cities, we must give kudos to Amazon for their creativity.
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