At this point there’s little doubt that the future of home delivery—whether that’s food, books, or toilet paper—is all about robots. The question is: Which bot will scurry up to your doorstep first?
Postmates recently unveiled Serve, a googly-eyed rover that delivers takeout and groceries. Now, Amazon wants to deliver everything else with Scout, the company’s take on an autonomous delivery robot.
Amazon recently announced that its boxy little robot will soon be hitting the sidewalks of Snohomish County in Washington to works out the kinks of the company’s autonomous delivery aspirations. How does this work exactly?
In a promotional video, you see a six-wheeled, bright blue bot roll down the sidewalk, cross the street, and stop in front of an idyllic suburban house. A woman comes out and Scout’s lid lifts, revealing a Prime box. Easy, right?
Not really. The reality of streets and sidewalks is messy and complex. There are obstacles to avoid, mischievous teenagers to dodge, and numerous unseen technical issues. It’s easy to imagine why Amazon is testing the bots in a quieter, suburban location.
For now, human helpers will accompany the six roaming Scouts as they head out on their journeys, which will take place Monday through Friday during daylight hours. Eventually, Scout will follow a route by itself, and maybe by that time, the whole robot deliver thing will have stopped feeling totally weird.