Amazon.com Inc. has arranged robots to deliver packages in the suburbs north of Seattle, its latest experiment to automate the last-mile of delivery that’s a labor-intensive and costly component of buying products online.
The e-commerce giant announced a trial of “Amazon Scout,” autonomous delivery devices, the size of a cooler that roll along sidewalks at a walking pace.
Customers awaiting packages in suburban state may get a surprise — and a laugh — when their deliveries arrive. Rather than using a box truck or a carrier on foot, the world’s largest Internet company by revenue is joining the delivery market in grand style.
The fully electric delivery system – Amazon Scout – has been designed to get packages to customers safely using autonomous delivery.
At the beginning, the 6 devices will deliver packages Monday through Friday during daylight hours — accompanied by an Amazon employee. Scout navigates to the customer’s door and automatically opens a top hatch, allowing the customer to retrieve the package.
Amazon Scout was created at the company’s research and development lab in Seattle. Its safety goals included ensuring the devices could efficiently navigate around pets, pedestrians, and other obstacles in the path.
The company already uses robots to move inventory in its vast network of warehouses and has been working on delivery by autonomous drone for years.