While it’s not exactly that package-dropping drone we were promised years ago by Jeff Bezos, Amazon has finally brought remote delivery to Atlanta. The online marketplace announced yesterday that Georgia’s capital city and the Nashville suburb of Franklin, Tennessee, are the two newest markets where trials of the Scout robot will occur.
Without specifically mentioning exactly where in Atlanta we’ll see these these six-wheeled robots, described in a statement from Amazon Scout Vice President Sean Scott as being “the size of a small cooler,” the promotional image released by the company shows the sky-blue Scout in front of the colorful “Atlanta” mural on the corner of Baker and Marietta Streets downtown.
It also isn’t yet clear how many will be released into each city, but they will originally operate only during daytime on weekdays.
“Expanding our field test to Atlanta and Franklin is one of the many steps forward for this new delivery system and on our path to net zero carbon by 2040,” Scott said in his statement. “During a time when so many of our customers rely on us to get what they need, bringing Scout to these new locations supplements our transportation network and increases our capacity to deliver what our customers want: great selection, low prices, and fast shipping speeds.”
Packages sent out for delivery in Scouts are held inside the devices, which operate on sidewalks and are said to move at a “walking pace,” and the same delivery options offered previously by Amazon are available, including Prime membership’s free one-, two- and same-day delivery services.
Scouts apparently move at a “walking” pace, and will have the accompaniment of a human “Ambassador” to make sure everything works properly. Scott also says the devices have the ability to autonomously navigate around objects and other sidewalk commuters along their paths, including pets.
No word if that will also include wings, which are also known to crowd Atlanta streets, but that’s another story… 🙂
Interestingly, along with seeing how Scouts function in new neighborhood environments with different climates than the west coast, Amazon seems to also have recruitment in mind with the choices of Atlanta and Franklin.
“Amazon also has a significant presence in these areas through our corporate offices and logistics facilities. And, we know they are both great places to find world-class talent that can help us continue inventing for customers,” Scott said.
Get more information on Amazon Scout, and see photos of thank-you notes left by children who seem to be fans of the little blue e-commerce delivery robots, at Amazon’s blog.