Why it matters: Autonomous robotic vehicles are now making deliveries for Amazon in one Washington neighborhood. The e-commerce giant will use what it learns from the field test to improve future customer deliveries.
Amazon has started field testing self-driving robotic delivery vehicles in a neighborhood in Snohomish County, Washington.
Amazon is initially deploying a small fleet of six robotic vehicles to deliver packages Monday through Friday during daylight hours. Customers in the area can order items as they normally would from Amazon and they’ll either be delivered via a standard courier or by Amazon Scout.
The six-wheeled vehicles are about the size of a small cooler and cruise along sidewalks at a walking pace. Amazon said they’ve been developed to safely and efficiently navigate public obstacles including pedestrians and pets.
Scouts are fully autonomous although Amazon says they’ll initially be accompanied by an Amazon employee.
Autonomous delivery robots like this could very well be the future there’s one thing I’m unclear on. What happens if you aren’t home to grab the package out of the cart? As best I can tell, the vehicles don’t have an arm or any other mechanism to drop your package at your doorstep. It’s a scenario that I haven’t yet seen addressed.