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Amazon Rolls Out Robots, Trying Automated Delivery In Seattle Area

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Amazon Rolls Out Robots, Trying Automated Delivery In Seattle Area
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Small delivery robots started rolling down the sidewalks in the Seattle suburbs Wednesday as Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) joined the unmanned home delivery space.

Amazon joins other companies that deliver items — including Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE: YUM)-owned Pizza Hut, Domino's Pizza, Inc. (NYSE: DPZ) and British food delivery company Just Eat — in trying out small rolling robots for delivering to homes rather than relying on trucks, cars or bikes.

Amazon’s robot, Scout, looks kind of like a rolling cooler — only nobody needs to pull it. The company said six of the devices began delivering packages in Snohomish County just north of Seattle on Wednesday.

The robots, which move at about the pace a human walks, will only be used during daylight hours — at least for now — and will initially be accompanied by an Amazon employee to make sure they safely avoid people, pets or anything else that might be in their path. They’re powered by an electric battery.

“We are delighted to welcome Amazon Scout into our community,” Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers said in an Amazon blog post announcing the trial. “Similar to Amazon, we are always looking for new ways to better deliver service to our residents.”

Domino 's has been trying out delivery via rolling robot coolers in New Zealand, and just this month, PepsiCo, Inc. (NASDAQ: PEP) started using similar robots, which it calls “snackbots,” to deliver snacks and beverages on the campus of the University of the Pacific in California. 

Pizza Hut is going in a slightly different direction, working with Toyota Motor Corp (NYSE: TM) on a self-driving pickup truck for automated deliveries. 

The British are way ahead on the robot delivery game. Food delivery service Just Eat said in 2017 that it delivered its 1,000th meal using its fleet of 10 robots in London.

Starship Technologies, an Estonian-American startup which has been making robot devices similar to those being used by Amazon, said late last year that it wants to also get in on robot package delivery and is testing devices in the San Francisco area.

Amazon shares were up 0.48 percent at $1,640.02 at the close Wednesday. 

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Photo courtesy of Amazon. 

Posted-In: RoboticsNews Tech Best of Benzinga

 

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