A Scout for city deliveries

This was announced by Amazon itself on its blog, explaining the plans for the development of a research pole for the small robot in Finland. About twenty engineers based in Helsinki will have the task of studying solutions that can allow Scout to move easily in the most diverse and complex urban environments. Described by Amazon as “the size of a cooler,” Scout moves on six wheels and is powered by electricity. It moves on pavements at walking pace and can carry small packages, intervening above all in the “last mile” phase of deliveries, replacing entirely “human” transport. The technology is not new, many are focusing on courier robots, and there are those who already use them successfully. Starship, a San Francisco-based tech company, announced in April that it had completed 1.5 million autonomous deliveries since its launch in 2014. The design is very similar to that of Scout – rounded shapes, the appearance of a six-wheeled toy car – with the difference that Starship only provides a delivery service, without directly managing the product to be delivered. Its little robots move within a 6 kilometer radius, and are able to move intelligently around obstacles and people and cross the street avoiding traffic. Tracked via an app, they can only be unlocked and opened by the person who placed the order. They have been especially successful on college campuses, and have become even more popular during the pandemic thanks to their truly contactless delivery mode, with the new CEO aiming to unseat Deliveroo from its short-haul delivery lead. however it seems a more ambitious goal. A few months ago the Seattle giant bought Umbra, a Finnish company at the forefront in the creation of 3D models and projections, such as those used to recreate the increasingly realistic virtual environments of video games. A purchase that integrates perfectly with the new announcement, and with the statements that can be read on the Amazon blog. “The team in Helsinki” they explain in a note “will work closely with the research and development laboratories for Socut in Seattle, and with the teams in Cambridge and Tübingen, to develop 3D software that simulates the complexity of real life and ensure that Scout can move safely for his deliveries ”. And accompanied the note with news of new open positions in Helsinki for robotics and autonomous systems engineers. Compared to its competitors, therefore, Amazon seems to be planning a next step, which brings the robots for deliveries out of the short range and quiet suburban sidewalks, making them able to navigate more complex contexts such as those of large cities.

1 thought on “A Scout for city deliveries”

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