Amazon halts Scout delivery robot field testing, will reassign employees to other projects

Shawn Knight

Posts: 14,459   +171
Staff member
Recap: Amazon is winding down one of its more ambitious projects in an effort to cut costs. The e-commerce giant started field testing Scout, an autonomic robotic vehicle designed to make deliveries in neighborhoods, nearly four years ago. Testing commenced in Amazon's home state of Washington before expanding to other regions including Tennessee, Georgia and Southern California.

At its peak, Amazon had around 400 employees working on the project globally. According to one source, Amazon has decided to halt further testing.

A skeleton crew will be retained in hopes of finding a new use for the bots, but otherwise it sounds like the project is dead.

Amazon spokesperson Alisa Carroll said they worked to create a unique delivery experience but learned through feedback that certain aspects of Scout weren't meeting customers' needs. As such, Amazon is ending field tests and reorienting the program. Employees that worked on the Scout team will be moved to other positions that best fit their skills and experience.

This isn't Amazon's first cost-cutting measure under CEO Andy Jassy. Last month, sources said Amazon was encouraging some employees to work remotely to help scale back costs associated with on-site employment. If successful, the initiative could allow Amazon to close some call centers across the country to save money.

A separate report claims Amazon has paused hiring for corporate positions through the end of the year.

Earlier this week, another Amazon spokesperson confirmed the company was discontinuing Glow. Launched roughly a year ago, the interactive entertainment and video-calling hub for kids wasn't a big seller.

Prime Day 2022 was Amazon's biggest shopping day ever, and the company is looking for a repeat performance.

Amazon will host a second Prime Day-style sales event next week. The Prime Early Access Sale, exclusively for Prime members, will serve as a precursor to the holiday shopping season and run in 15 countries including the US. The two-day event starts on October 11 and will feature the company's first-ever Top 100 list, highlighting the most desirable and giftable products of the season.

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Dr Roboto

Posts: 52   +119
They canceled it because it was always a stupid business idea but they were too arrogant to admit it (wow that was kind of harsh). Ground-based robots are the most complicated type to build. There are just so many complex situations and obstacles to navigate, unlike the air where you can just fly over most things (but that is a rant for another post). Worst of all, the fact the robot is confined to sidewalks and thus only go a few MPH to minimize the risk of a serious collision with people, kids, or animals/pets ($$$ lawsuit). It is small and can only delivery a few packages. As others noted, just imagine the level of vandals and other people that would just get in the way to screw with Amazon.

Just think about how much money the burned with over 400 people working on it (clearly not all full time and maybe only for a short time), but dang, the easily spend tens of millions of dollars on this silly idea.
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 1,312   +961
They canceled it because it was always a stupid business idea but they were too arrogant to admit it (wow that was kind of harsh). Ground-based robots are the most complicated type to build. There are just so many complex situations and obstacles to navigate, unlike the air where you can just fly over most things (but that is a rant for another post). Worst of all, the fact the robot is confined to sidewalks and thus only go a few MPH to minimize the risk of a serious collision with people, kids, or animals/pets ($$$ lawsuit). It is small and can only delivery a few packages. As others noted, just imagine the level of vandals and other people that would just get in the way to screw with Amazon.

Just think about how much money the burned with over 400 people working on it (clearly not all full time and maybe only for a short time), but dang, the easily spend tens of millions of dollars on this silly idea.

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terzaerian

Posts: 1,517   +2,259
I have a cousin that's in uni and went to visit him; there was just some kind of drone like this Amazon drone but for some other company trundling around. Bewildered the hell out of me but he was completely used to it.
 

Hodor

Posts: 251   +182
Sending cute robots full of goods in a city with 5000 gangs and more flowing in. Yeah, fantastic idea.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 9,333   +8,532
In order to succeed it simply must be bigger, faster, more secure and less costly ..... so, they made the right call ....