This week the folks at Amazon are field testing Amazon Scout. This is a 6-wheeled autonomous robot (an automaton of sorts) made to deliver packages to Amazon customers. This robot is “fully-electric” and may one day replace all delivery people in the world, for lack of a reason to run out and get payed to do a job a robot would gladly do for free.
Amazon Scout is the size of a “small cooler” – as Amazon suggested this week. That is a small cooler if you’re the sort of person who needs to bring enough beer to drown a horse – otherwise this thing is the size of a standard or large-sized cooler. This robot is also blue, with black wheels in its first iteration.
The first Amazon Scout has six wheels, an array of sensors, and a friendly sort of look. It looks like what you’d expect of a friendly delivery robot, and not at all like a harbinger of the automated delivery apocalypse.
According to the demo video and release, the Amazon Scout robot will deliver a package to a house – but it won’t drop said package off. Instead, it’ll arrive and wait for the customer to walk up and grab the package. The top of Amazon Scout opens, the package can be picked up, and the top closes.
It’s not immediately clear what’ll happen if the customer does not come out of their house to accept the package immediately. It’s also unclear what’ll happen if Amazon Scout is attacked or disabled along it route.
It’s likely Amazon will track Amazon Scout at all times, and will come to the robot’s rescue should anything go awry. Though, one would expect, that with monitoring in place, just as many humans would be required to handle one package as would normally be the case – but who knows?
The first place Amazon Scout will be deployed is in Snohomish County, Washington. If you’re an Amazon Prime user there, you might see Amazon Scout appear on your doorstep starting today.