Amazon has come up with a few interesting ideas (and some questionable ones) in regards to how it delivers products bought on its platform, and starting today, it has one more. The online retailer today announced Scout, a completely autonomous robot that will begin making deliveries to a small subset of customers starting today.
Scout robots are the size of a small cooler and they roll along on sidewalks at walking speed, which might raise some questions as to how fast deliveries can be. As mentioned above, the devices are completely autonomous and fully electric, and they've been trained to move safely, even when pets and pedestrians may get in the way. Nonetheless, at first, each robot will be accompanied by an Amazon employee to ensure everything goes smoothly.
The initial testing phase will also be very limited in terms of availability. Starting today, Amazon will begin using six Scout robots to make deliveries in Snohomish County, Washington. They'll only be making deliveries during weekdays, and only during the daytime, so at least for now they won't be a way to make after-hours deliveries easier, though that would be one of the more interesting use cases.
Snohomish is happy to welcome the investment, with Executive Dave Somers highlighting the region as a great place for entrepreneurial investment:
“We are delighted to welcome Amazon Scout into our community. Similar to Amazon, we are always looking for new ways to better deliver service to our residents. From the latest Amazon innovation to cutting edge technology, Snohomish County is a great place for entrepreneurial creativity.”
Amazon didn't detail plans for expansion beyond Snohomish, though the company says it will learn from this initial rollout to provide better service in the future.