TECH NEWS – Amazon is experimenting with delivery robots, and they already started with a little truck called “Scout” which is taking deliveries on the streets of Washington State.
Six of those autonomous electric trucks will deliver packages “at walking pace” round Snohomish County. These little robots will only function during the day and they will be accompanied by an Amazon employee at first.
In fact, it is the latest in a series of trials of pavement robots, which could be seen as a good alternative to road deliveries.
“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,” wrote Sean Scott, Amazon vice-president on the company’s blog.
The little truck is shown in a promotional video delivering a parcel, with a lid which is lifting automatically when the customer comes out of their house to get the package. Details of how exactly this will work are not given. Neither is there any explanation for what happens if the customer is not in at the time of delivery.
Still, Amazon will not be alone in making such deliveries. Starship Technologies, a robotics firm has also just announced a fleet of two dozen autonomous robots that will deliver coffee and pizza to college students in Virginia.
The robots can be requested via an app to deliver goods across the campus of George Mason University.
San Francisco has had delivery robots on its streets for several years, with tech start-ups, including Marble and Starship, leading the way.
But there has been something of a backlash, with some living there describing the robots as a menace and questioning how safe it was to share the pavements with them.
In 2017, city supervisor Norman Yee introduced legislation to restrict their use, including capping the number of permits issued at three per company and requiring the delivery bots to only operate within certain neighbourhoods. They must also be accompanied by a human at all times.