They’ll be rolling in Memphis – pending approval.
FedEx is planning to test delivery robots this summer for customers including Walmart and Pizza Hut, while others including Target and AutoZone are looking at the capability, according to a report in Reuters.
The cooler-sized robots are from Segway founder Dean Kamen’s DEKA Development. They can top out at 10 mph and have cameras and sensors to identify and avoid obstacles. Approval is needed from the city of Memphis, and the initial test would be between FedEx offices there. As with autonomous vehicles, some states are calling for regulations requiring human backup of delivery bots for safety reasons.
Starship Technologies, which has a similar cooler bot, deployed tests last year in San Francisco and at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, with deliveries running $1.99 per order – an unheard of sum in the expensive last mile which accounts for half or more of delivery costs.
Amazon has also been testing its own delivery bot, dubbed Scout, which began delivering packages to customers in a neighborhood in Snohomish County, Washington in January. UPS is not believed to be testing delivery robots but has been active in drone testing for the past couple years, as are Amazon and Google.
Israeli drone platform company Flytrex has been involved in a pilot program in North Carolina, part of a series of tests sanctioned by the Federal Aviation Administration.
You can read the rest of the FedEx robot story here.