ATLANTA—In January 2019, Amazon launched its six-wheeled delivery robot called Scout. Its initial launch was limited to a single neighborhood in Snohomish County, Wash. In August 2019, Scout trials started in Irvine, Calif. Now, Scout will come for a pilot program in Atlanta and Franklin, Tenn., The Verge reports.
Amazon hasn’t revealed exactly how many robots are they’ll use or how many customers have signed up for the delivery system. But it appears the retailer is treating the robots as prototypes as Amazon works to refine the process.
A “small number of Amazon Scout devices” will operate in Atlanta and Franklin for daylight deliveries Monday to Friday. The autonomous devices will have a human, called an “Amazon Scout Ambassador,” accompanying them at all times.
The pandemic has accelerated the demand for delivery robots. Amazon said its Scout pilot has helped the company “meet increased customer demand by supplementing our transportation network.”
Though early delivery robot trials are promising, it’s been difficult to definitely answer whether the robots can handle real-world situations, such as crowded city sidewalks. Many delivery companies with robots still rely on humans to operate the machines remotely.
Around the world, robots are seeing more action thanks to the pandemic, which has increased demand for the technology. From the kitchen, to delivery and store maintenance such as restocking and cleaning, retailers are finding more ways to use the technology to efficiently perform daily operations.