Amazon is launching a new autonomous delivery device called Scout. The six-wheeled self-driving robots are about the size of a small cooler and they roll along on sidewalks at walking speed. As the company announced Wednesday, the Scout’s first mission is an undisclosed community in Snohomish County, Washington, where six Scouts will deliver packages for residents.
For now, Amazon says, it will limit its testing to daylight hours Monday through Friday, when sidewalk traffic is lowest. Scout will also have a human buddy to make sure the bot can “safely and efficiently navigate around pets, pedestrians, and anything else in their path.” Customers in the test area who order on Amazon, including for same-day, one-day, or two-day shipping, are eligible to have Scout robots arrive at their doorstep.
Snohomish County Executive, Dave Somers says “We are delighted to welcome Amazon Scout into our community. Similar to Amazon, we are always looking for new ways to better deliver service to our residents. From the latest Amazon innovation to cutting edge technology, Snohomish County is a great place for entrepreneurial creativity.”
Amazon didn’t detail plans for expansion beyond Snohomish, though the company says it will learn from this initial rollout to provide better service in the future. The Scout project follows Amazon’s other delivery initiatives, including expanding its fleet of Amazon Logistics drivers and delivering inside a customer’s car, garage, or home.