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INDUSTRY FOCUS

Amazon commences robot delivery trials in the US

Online multi-merchandise retailer Amazon has begun trials of an autonomous delivery robot called Scout.

The blue, six-wheeled bot which is “about the size of a small cooler” will be trialled in neighbourhoods in Snohomish County close to the e-commerce giant’s Seattle headquarters.

Announcing the arrival of the full-electric delivery system, Amazon said Scout had been developed by its engineers to roll along sidewalks at walking pace.

The initial trial will see Scout autonomously follow their delivery route while an Amazon employee tracks them to take notes on the journey. Amazon claimed that the Scout is able to navigate around pets, pedestrians and obstacles “safely and effectively”.

The bots will also be restricted to deliveries in daylight hours and on weekdays during the initial roll out.

Scout is the latest stage in Amazon’s development of new delivery methods, after the company announced it has been working on Prime Air, a drone delivery system.

A blog on the company’s website admitted that putting an air-borne drone delivery system in place would “take some time, but one day seeing Prime Air vehicles will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road”.

It added: “Currently under development in the United States, the United Kingdom, Austria, France, and Israel, Amazon will use Prime Air to deliver packages that weigh up to five pounds - which make up nearly 90 per cent of the items we sell - at distances of 10 miles or more.”

 

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