As more and more companies have been introducing their own versions of autonomous delivery robots, it was really only a matter of time until FedEx hopped on board with the craze as well.
The FedEx SameDay Bot has been designed to make those last mile, short-range deliveries more efficient, and allow customers to receive their packages even faster.
Riding around at a top speed of 10 mph, SameDay Bot is able navigate roads and avoid pedestrians with the help of built in sensors that are commonly found in self-driving cars. And unlike the Amazon Scout, SameDay Bot can tackle stairs to deliver packages to a customer’s front door. This feature is ideal for people with mobility issues who are otherwise unable to meet a delivery robot down by the curb. Customers will have to be home, however, in order to receive their package because SameDay Bot will not make drop offs or open a front gate.
In addition to standard packages, FedEx is hoping to extend SameDay Bot into other types of deliveries as well, like pizzas for example. The company is currently in talks with Walmart, Target and Pizza Hut to assess their interest in incorporating a delivery robot into the services they offer.
While all of this news is pretty exciting for now, delivery robots are raising a few concerns about their impact on jobs and overall safety. While many experts believe that some driving jobs will be put at risk, a FedEx spokesperson said that the robots will in turn create more higher-paying jobs like remote operators, software developers, and machine experts.
To address the safety concerns, regulators in Washington are developing legislation to govern the robots while several other states have already passed laws to protect them. It will be pretty interesting to see what kinds of legal protection these delivery robots have if they are ever involved in a collision or accident.
A few other areas of interest that are yet to be revealed are how well the designs will hold up in extreme weather conditions, if customers will be able to track SameDay Bot, and what the protocol will be for packages that get misplaced or delivered to the wrong address.
Clearly there are still a few kinks to work through before SameDay Bot hits the streets of our neighborhoods, but FedEx is ambitious to get them out there to deliver our packages and potentially our three-topping pizzas.