Amazon brings robots to our doorsteps. They are already operating successfully on the rough terrain of Mars and now Amazon brought them in the form of Scout, the delivery boy. The robots have six wheels, and resemble small coolers. Initially, there will be a limited number of them and they will operate in Snohomish County, Washington. The design permits them to follow the delivery route on their own.

However, being a new concept, Amazon employees will accompany them to ensure there are no hiccups. As NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has been there for more than five years on the alien planet, a traveling robot on the sidewalk should not raise too many eyebrows.

The Guardian reports Amazon has taken Artificial Intelligence AI to a new level with Scout, the robotic delivery boy. The Amazon lab in Seattle developed it and the design allows it to navigate around obstacles like pets and pedestrians that come in its path.

Competition is tough

Jeff Bezos, Amazon's boss, launched Amazon Prime Air in 2013. At that time he announced that he planned to offer aerial deliveries direct to the home. He indicated a timeframe of five years. He was true to his word and Amazon made one successful delivery by the end of the five-year timeline. It was to a couple of customers in UK. They had large gardens, were located near the Amazon depot and the weight of items ordered was hardly anything.

Already, others have entered the scene of artificial intelligence to promote their ideas of automated home delivery of products by employing concepts similar to that now adopted by Amazon. These have led to a number of controversies and one of these is the fear of loss of employment for workers who are engaged in delivery of items.

Starship Technologies, is a leading UK-based company in this sector. It launched its activities in April 2018 and is carrying out trial runs. The Guardian notes they claim to be pioneers stating, “We created this space four years ago and have since seen many other companies join, Amazon being the latest.”

Robotic home delivery may need fine-tuning

According to ARS Technica, Amazon launched six of their Scout robots to mark the beginning of the robotic home delivery scheme near Seattle.

The delivery of packages will be Monday through Friday, during daylight hours. The plan envisages that sidewalk robots will carry packages from a full-size delivery truck to the doorstep of the customer. This concept is no doubt novel but may need approval of local authorities.

The present system of Amazon is to hire people to drop packages off on customers' front porches. However, the Scout will be different. It will pull up in front of a customer's house, and wait for the customer to come out and collect the package. A video has revealed this but it will need fine-tuning in order to succeed.