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Amazon begins testing its 'Scout' delivery robot in Southern California

By Polycount · 13 replies
Aug 9, 2019
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  1. For those who don't know, Scout is a small, six-wheeled vehicle with a Prime logo emblazoned on its side, and an array of sensors that help it navigate streets, sidewalks, driveways, and other random day-to-day obstacles safely. The little robot is completely autonomous, with no human driver or operator.

    Prior to this latest announcement, Scout robots had been primarily used to ferry packages around Snohomish County, Washington; near Amazon HQ. This gave the company more control and oversight over the robot's behavior, but now, Amazon clearly feels their creation is ready to spread its wings and work further away from home.

    If you live in the Irvine area, you may just find that your next Amazon order will be delivered by one of these mini machines. There's no special opt-in agreement that you have to sign; the integration is seamless and random, so there isn't a reliable way to guarantee you'll get a Scout-delivered order. However, if you order enough packages through Amazon on a weekly basis, your odds will certainly go up.

    If you have your heart set on spotting one of these little guys, though, here's some additional information: the pool of initial Scout robots will be small, and they will only deliver packages during the daytime between Monday and Friday every week (likely to cut down on the risk of nighttime theft or vandalism).

    Permalink to story.

  2. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 4,118   +2,406

    I hate to say it, but I can see all kinds of problems with this especially as presented in the video. The two biggest problems that come to mind are

    1. No means for the robot to put something on your doorstep - you have to be home.
    2. The robot itself being hijacked. Wrap some aluminum foil around it for a Faraday cage, then break into it for the "treasure".
    Markoni35, Underdog and Dimitrios like this.
  3. TheBigT42

    TheBigT42 TS Maniac Posts: 336   +228

    It won't take long for these things to get stolen
    Dimitrios likes this.
  4. QuantumPhysics

    QuantumPhysics TS Evangelist Posts: 1,363   +1,001

    I think you’re safer letting weed users make the deliveries to finance their habit.
  5. Igrecman

    Igrecman TS Maniac Posts: 300   +178

    I want this thing in the winter in Canada, in 3 feet of snow.
    Mushahid likes this.
  6. brucek

    brucek TS Maniac Posts: 191   +217

    They carry one package at a time? What's the range on them? What are they deployed from?

    Is the idea that a truck/mothership releases a swarm of them to service a few blocks worth of packages, waits for them all to deliver and come back, and then moves to the next location?

    It doesn't seem like it would scale to have them coming only from the major regional warehouses? (they don't even seem highway ready?)
  7. Igrecman

    Igrecman TS Maniac Posts: 300   +178

    It's a thousand times simpler to send a human to deliver the package, but I guess they don't want to pay a human to do it, do they? They should realize that when humans don't have a job they don't order any packages.
    Underdog, Dimitrios, tkabou and 2 others like this.
  8. brucek

    brucek TS Maniac Posts: 191   +217

    Here in the US we are currently near peak employment, with open job positions often outnumbering unemployed workers. The idea is not to put humans out of jobs permanently, it is to continue making progress so that less useful jobs no longer need to be done at all, with new better ones taking their place.

    Although -- while all evidence is we keep desiring new products and services rather than deciding to work less -- it would be nice if someday automation drove all the costs of an average happy life down to the point where no one really needed to work if they didn't want to. Maybe someday.
  9. vayeate

    vayeate TS Enthusiast Posts: 25   +17

    I want to tip one over.
  10. Polycount

    Polycount TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 1,826   +402

    I'm sure you aren't alone, and I'm sure Amazon is going to learn that the hard way.
  11. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 15,072   +4,080

    This is one of these, "let's do it because we can", ideas, IMHO, that doesn't mean is necessarily it a good idea, or even an idea worth doing.

    I have been criticized recently as, "an old Fogy", since I really wasn't on board, (even a tiny bit), with the robotic tail concept.

    With that said, Jeff Bezos gets more disturbing, year over year, with his overtly super agressive, psychotic, and grandiose necessity to try and have the last company standing, in all of the retail world. If there's anything I can buy somewhere else, I won't buy it from Amazon, and I generally get better service and prices from everywhere else as well. These robot carts are just another facet of Amazon constantly needing, or rather an excuse, for Amazon to rub its name in their customer's faces, and attempting to implant brand recognition deep into their customer's subconscious..

    Amazon has a new stunt they use to try and force you to buy a Prime membership. I ordered a DVD set and something else to make the free shipping tier. So, Amazon sent me a notification as to when I could expect my merchandise, which ended some 3 weeks in the future. A few days later, they sent me an email saying, "great news, you're getting your package a week earlier"! (Keep in mind the new latest 'advanced date', was still almost 2 weeks away. Then they sat on the order until the day before the last predicted arrival date, then shipped it. I got it the next day. Which tells me it could have been overnight free shipping, they just wanted to put me in my place for having the chutzpah to request free shipping. I don't know, maybe there's some other reason for the delay, but they've pulled that trick on me several times already, and I can't help but notice a pattern.

    I ordered a camera at about 10:30 this morning (Friday), from Adorama in New York. UPS ground is overnight from NYC to Philly., it's free, and UPS tracking is telling me I'll have my new toy on Monday, around about lunchtime.

    The same camera from Amazon is $50.00 more, and that's without the lens I'm getting included at the lower price.
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2019
  12. Adi6293

    Adi6293 TS Maniac Posts: 239   +217

    That idea is great BUT not everyone can do a high skill job, and right now we create less new jobs than ever before, eventually it will get to a point where too many people will lose their jobs so I think those corporations and governments should have a plan B
  13. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,503   +3,890

    I hope it's more responsible than the Amazon drivers! Their driver pulled through my yard after a rain storm and now they are referring the claim to a 3rd party shister in NJ that says they will only offer me 1/3rd of the recorded cost to repair! When I reminded them of the fact that I've been an Amazon Prime member since it's inception and have spent tens of thousands of dollar with them their highly professional reply was "we don't care, that's all we are offering".
    If this thing comes on my property it's going to get a few loads of buckshot and my defense is that it must have been a low flying meteor shower ..... LOL
    Underdog and Peter Farkas like this.
  14. TechMonger

    TechMonger TS Rookie

    This article leaves me with more unanswered questions than information, such as, how do these robots get to the area in which they make deliveries? Is there an Amazon delivery truck nearby that shoots them down a ramp?

    It doesn't note how many packages they're designed to deliver, how the actual delivery occurs...

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