E-commerce giant Amazon is testing a wheeled robotic vehicle for delivery the Snohomish County, Washington. The vehicle named as Amazon Scout is cooler-sized six-wheel electric vehicle designed for last mile delivery. The last mile delivery vehicle resembles other competitors in the field like Starship Technologies robots which started delivering food at the George Mason University in Virginia.
Sean Scott, the in-charge of the scout project said in a blog post the robotic delivery vehicles were developed at Amazon’s Seattle research and development Lab by taking all the safety measures so that they move safely around pedestrians, pets and anything else in the path.
As part of the test, six scout vehicles crawl by the sidewalks with the help of an Amazon employee, though the company wants eventually to autonomously follow the delivery route, Mr. Scott wrote in the blog. However it is not completely clear whether the delivery systems can complete the route without human intervention. The company released a video announcement which shows a demo of customer walking towards the vehicle to retrieve a package.
Amazon has also placed representatives called ‘’Ambassadors’’ whose primary job is to collect packages from the vehicle and carrying it to the customer’s doorstep. The company has listed 21 job openings in the area related to the scout systems which includes experts in software engineering, robotics and computer vision technology. The company wants to scale up its robotic delivery development program ‘’by many orders of magnitude’’.
Amazon has not disclosed the exact location of its Amazon Scout testing program in the Snohomish County. Amazon has described Snohomish County as their initial partner in the Scout project. The Seattle-based online retailer has been working on ways to improve last mile delivery and also considering drone based delivery. Other competitors in the field include KiwiBot which delivers food to university students and Starship Technologies.