Startups do it. Amazon does it. And now Fedex is also experimenting with robots for short-haul deliveries. Today, the company has officially announced its new FedEx SameDay Bot, which could make delivery of the last mile more efficient.
The SameDay-Bot is battery-operated, has a top speed of 10 km / h and is autonomous. That means he can control pedestrians and traffic with a combination of LIDAR sensors, found in self-driving cars and regular cameras.
FedEx says it will initially use the bot to carry packages between the company's offices at its headquarters in Memphis (subject to local authority approval). However, if these attempts are successful, they would like to extend the service to other companies and retailers, eventually turning robots into a standard part of their same-day delivery service.
The company is currently in talks with companies such as AutoZone, Lowe's, Pizza Hut, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart to determine their need for this type of robotic delivery. On average, according to FedEx, more than 60 percent of these retailers' customers live within three miles of a store ̵
FedEx is far from being the only company to experiment with bots for short-term delivery. A number of start-ups and large companies have already carried out experiments using a similar technology. However, it is not clear whether such robots can be used economically on a large scale or whether they can be safely integrated into the cities. San Francisco was an early test site for such bots, but city legislators restricted their movements as a nuisance. Other cities and states wanted to promote their use.
SameDay Bot has some features that set it apart from the crowd. It was developed with the help of engineer Dean Kamen, who previously designed the Segway and the upright upright wheelchair iBot. The legacy of Kamen's work can be seen in FedEx's robot, which uses multiple pairs of wheels to climb stairs and curbs.
A video ad for the robot also shows that there are screens on the front and back for communicating with pedestrians. A screen on the front says "Hello," while a screen on the back indicates his direction and whether he is about to pause. Self-driving automakers have experimented with similar technology and said they help reduce accidents and misunderstandings between man and machine.