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article imageAmazon’s Scout robots roll out in Southern California

By Karen Graham     Aug 11, 2019 in Technology
Irvine - Scout, Amazon’s autonomous delivery robot, has now expanded its delivery range, moving to the second phase of its real-world testing in sunny Irvine, California, according to a post Tuesday on Amazon's blog.
In a blog post last week, the vice president of Amazon Scout Sean Scott wrote that after delivering thousands of smiles to customers just outside of Amazon’s headquarters in Washington state, "It was now time for Scout to experience a little more sunshine.”
"While in the Pacific Northwest, Scout has experienced all of the region’s weather — from the expected rain shower to the infrequent sun, and even the biggest snowstorm the area’s seen in the last decade," Scott added.
Scout is just another nontraditional idea Amazon has come up with to get packages delivered to their customers faster and as cheaply as possible. Think about the rollout of Amazon Key, the Amazon drone project and others. Scout is a small, autonomous six-wheeled robot that is about the same size as a large cooler. It's powered by batteries and moves at a walking pace.
Scout is also loaded with cameras, ultrasonic sensors, and other sensors that enable it to detect and maneuver around obstacles in real-time.
The Scout project is still in the early stages of development, having undergone testing by making human-supervised deliveries in a single suburban neighborhood in Snohomish County in Washington state, just north of Seattle.
File photo: Software engineer Lisa Huang analyses how signals from the devices work in unison.
File photo: Software engineer Lisa Huang analyses how signals from the devices work in unison.
Amazon researchers and engineers developed Scout from the ground-up with safety and convenience in mind - from the design of the robotic hardware to the development of the back-end tech that operates the device, according to The Verge.
"We don’t need to wait on external parts or software updates; we can rapidly prototype hardware components and write new code and are able to validate our efforts in real-time," Scott says.
Scott says they will start out with just a few of the delivery devices - delivering Monday through Friday, during daylight hours. "Customers in the Irvine area will order just as they normally would and their Amazon packages will be delivered either by one of our trusted carrier partners or by Amazon Scout."
It will still be quite a while before Scout delivery robots will be seen in neighborhoods across the nation, and by that time, Amazon's Scout will be in good company. Keep in mind the package delivery sector is full of well-funded startups like Marble, Starship Technologies, Nuro, Robomart, Boxbot, Dispatch, and Robby, not to mention FedEx and Postmates, writes Venture Beat.
More about Amazon, Scout, delivery robot, field test, Irving California
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