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FedEx is the next delivery service experimenting with robots for short-distance deliveries, following in Amazon's robot tracks with their release of the Scout. Today, the company announced its new FedEx SameDay Bot, which it says will make "last mile" deliveries more efficient.
The bot is powered by batteries and has a top speed of 10 mph. It's autonomous, using cameras and LIDAR sensors to steer itself around people and traffic, similar to the technology found in self-driving cars.
FedEx will initially use the bot internally, shuffling packages between buildings at their Memphis headquarters. If the internal trials are successful, FedEx has ambitions to expand the service to other retailers, enabling them to offer same-day delivery services.
SameDay Bot was built with the help of Dean Kamen, the engineer that created the Segway and the stair-climbing wheelchair. Kamen's influence can be seen in FedEx's robot, which utilizes multiple sets of wheels to climb up steps and curbs.
The bot also has a screen on the front that can communicate with pedestrians, displaying messages like "hello" while a screen on the back indicates the direction it's traveling and if it's about to stop.
FedEx says they are currently negotiating with retailers like AutoZone, Pizza Hut, Target, and Walmart to gauge their need for a delivery system like this. Per their own research, more than 60 percent of customers live within three miles of one of those stores, the perfect radius for this little delivery bot. Soon, your pizza and your spark plugs could both be showing up atop a friendly, wheeled AI.