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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- How smart tech is transforming the transportation industry (Tech Pro Research)
- Delivery wars: Amazon's new delivery robot vs Starship's college munchie robot (ZDNet)
- You might see FedEx robots delivering packages this summer (CNET)
- 5G's important role in autonomous car technology (TechRepublic)
- How autonomous vehicles could co-exist with traditional cars in the near future (TechRepublic)
- 9 best food delivery apps and how to choose among them (CNET)
- Tom Merritt's Top 5 (TechRepublic on Flipboard)