Top 5 delivery robots

In the future, robots might handle all of our deliveries. Tom Merritt looks at five companies that are developing autonomous delivery services.

Top 5 delivery robots In the future, robots might handle all of our deliveries. Tom Merritt looks at five companies that are developing autonomous delivery services.

Autonomous delivery robots are real. The little autonomous coolers on wheels are trundling down the streets in test neighborhoods around the world. Who's trying them? It's not always the usual suspects. Let's take a look at five companies that use autonomous delivery robots.

SEE: How iRobot used data science, cloud, and DevOps to design its next-gen smart home robots (cover story PDF) (TechRepublic)

  1. Starship: This company is sort of the granddaddy—its roots are in Estonia, but it has done tests in London, Washington, DC, and San Francisco. Starship's robots have made more than 25,000 deliveries.
  2. Amazon Scout: Yes, the company you'd expect to be trying this just got in the game in January 2019. Its six-wheeler is testing out deliveries in Snohomish County, WA where a lot of Twin Peaks was shot—that's probably why it only delivers in daylight hours.
  3. FedEx: Another potentially obvious company to test this is operating the SameDay Bot—designed with the help of Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway. Right now, it's shuttling packages between FedEx offices in Memphis, TN, but eventually the plan is to offer the service to retailers and other companies.
  4. Postmates Serve: The robot may potentially replace delivery drivers for Postmates. Serve has humanoid eyes that change to help people on the sidewalk understand what it plans to do next. It's currently being tested in Los Angeles.
  5. Nuro: The only company on our list not doing a small ice chest-sized robot—it's about half the size of a delivery van and drives on regular roads, not sidewalks. It has heated and chilled compartments for delivering groceries. It's been tested at a grocery store in Scottsdale, AZ, and this year expanded to two grocery stores in Houston.

We may not ride in autonomous cars as soon as we might hope, but we may soon get our groceries, meals, or other shopping delivered by smaller robots. How am I going to get my steps in now?

Also see

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By Tom Merritt

Tom is an award-winning independent tech podcaster and host of regular tech news and information shows. Tom hosts Sword and Laser, a science fiction and fantasy podcast, and book club with Veronica Belmont. He also hosts Daily Tech News Show, coverin...