Amazon expands robot delivery tests

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Amazon has announced it is expanding field tests of its Scout autonomous delivery system to two new locations in the USA – Atlanta, Georgia, and Franklin, Tennessee.

The e-commerce giant has been testing the six-wheeled robots for contactless delivery in Snohomish County, Washington, since last year, and more recently in the Irvine area of California.

Writing in a blog post about the announcement, Sean Scott, vice president of Amazon Scout, noted the all-electric vehicles had helped the company meet increased customer demand by supplementing its transportation network during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are starting with a small number of Amazon Scout devices in each city, delivering Monday through Friday, during daylight hours,” said Scott. “Customers in both areas will order just as they normally would and their Amazon packages will be delivered either by one of our trusted carrier partners, or by Amazon Scout.”

Atlanta, Georgia is one of two new US locations where Amazon will test its Scout autonomous delivery robot

The devices will autonomously follow their delivery route, travel at a walking pace, and initially be accompanied by a Scout ambassador. According to Amazon, the delivery devices are built to be “inherently safe”. Each delivery device can navigate around pets, pedestrians, and other objects in its path.

Adding Atlanta and Franklin to its existing operations gives Scout devices the opportunity to operate in varied neighbourhoods with different climates than in which they currently operate. Amazon said it also has a significant presence in these areas through its corporate offices and logistics facilities.

“Expanding our field test to Atlanta and Franklin is one of the many steps forward for this new delivery system and on our path to net zero carbon by 2040,” continued Scott. “During a time when so many of our customers rely on us to get what they need, bringing Scout to these new locations supplements our transportation network and increases our capacity to deliver what our customers want.”

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