Delivery robots are coming to a door near you
The rise of artificial intelligence continues to grow as delivery service companies create autonomous robots for “last mile” deliveries. These deliveries are a product’s final journey from warehouses to customers—and this last leg happens to be one of the most expensive aspects of a company’s delivery costs. The rise of these delivery bots shows promise for faster delivery for a range of different in-demand products.
The SameDay Bot is a battery-powered autonomous robot created by FedEx in the hopes of adding this same-day delivery to its services. SameDay Bot can travel up to speeds of 10 mph and has two screens—one in front and one in back—to communicate with pedestrians. The front screen says “hello” while the back has its direction of travel and an indicator of when it will stop moving in order to avoid accidents. As of right now, the bot is only couriering packages between FedEx’s offices in Memphis, its headquarter location. FedEx is currently in talks with companies such as Lowe’s, Pizza Hut, Target, and Walmart in an effort to sell SameDay Bot’s delivery services.
Amazon has recently introduced Scout, a six-wheeled autonomous delivery robot. The creation of this bot is thought to have started after Amazon acquired a company called Dispatch in 2017 after seeing their successful robot prototype. Scout is powered by an electric battery, moves at a walking pace, and can deliver heavier packages than its drone companion, Prime Air. Amazon has stated that Scout will only be used on a limited basis; it currently has a delivery route Monday-Friday in a neighborhood in Washington, accompanied by a human buddy.
Estonian-founded technology company Starship has released the self-declared “world’s first robot package delivery service.” These autonomous robots travel at a top speed of 4 mph and can detect obstacles up to 30 feet away. The company first started using the autonomous robots in cities around the world to deliver meals for local restaurants. With the success of their food delivery, the company has now turned its focus toward a delivery app that uses the robots for a broader spectrum of purchases. The app costs $10 a month and allows users to deliver packages to a “Starship location” to then be picked up by a delivery bot and brought to the customer’s address of choice.