If there’s an element of surprise in Amazon announcing the piloting of delivery robots, it’s that it wasn’t doing so already.
The company says its new, autonomous Scout robots will be taking to pavements in Snohomish County, in its home state of Washington, filled with deliveries for residents.
The six-wheeled robots look a lot like the ones we’ve seen handling last mile deliveries of food and parcels in the last few years. Appearing much like a mobile food and drinks cooler, they will be sauntering around neighbourhoods in Washington state at walking pace.
Amazon has developed the Scout robots in-house, it says, and is making an announcement now so the residents in trial areas won’t be intimidated when the autonomous vehicle begins driving up to their doorstep.
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Indeed, who could be offended by a Wall-E looking robot, who is accompanied by such playful theme music…
In a blog post on Wednesday, the company wrote: “We’re starting with six Amazon Scout devices, delivering packages Monday through Friday, during daylight hours. The devices will autonomously follow their delivery route but will initially be accompanied by an Amazon employee.
“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.”
There are six Scout robots currently involved in the pilot scheme, with Amazon likely to boost those numbers if the trials are a success. The scheme is likely the result of a wider effort by Amazon to move towards a logistics infrastructure that is less reliant on the major US delivery partners, like UPS and the United States Postal Service.
Indeed, the arrival of the Scout robots comes as the firm’s Air Prime initiative, which proposes using drones to get deliveries to remote areas, continues to stall.
Do you think there’ll be an Amazon Scout robot making its rounds in every town before too much longer? Let us know @TrustedReviews on Twitter.