Amazon Scout: Delivery Robots Become Reality – But Certainly Not Everywhere

Industry experts might think that Europe already has brought something similar to the market. The startup Starship Technologies, founded by the two Skype co-founders Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis launched something alike three years ago. However, this does not stop the Internet giant Amazon from testing very similar delivery robots in the US state of Washington in rural Snohomish County near Seattle with immediate effect.

The delivery robot’s name is “Scout”, it rides at walking pace on six wheels and can carry several smaller parcels. At the sidewalk, the vehicle can avoid pedestrians, vehicles and animals with the help of sensors. Six “Scouts” are used in the test phase in Snohomish County under certain conditions –  they have to be accompanied by an Amazon employee, to be driven only in daylight and to be used only on weekdays.

App opens hold

As “Scout” cannot climb stairs or open doors, the robot is only used in areas with detached houses. The customer has to go out onto the street, can then open the trunk of the vehicle via an app and remove the parcels. For Amazon, the use of these delivery robots should pay off in the medium term. Especially for small deliveries on the same day, they should help to save human resources, delivery vans and energy.

It remains to be seen how postmen and delivery services with many employees will take Amazon’s test. What’s certain is that “Scout” can’t do many things a person can – ring a bell, open mailboxes, climb stairs or open doors.