Get ready to share the sidewalk with autonomous Amazon delivery robots!

Get ready to share the sidewalk with autonomous Amazon delivery robots!

While most people expected Amazon’s first robot deliveries to be drones by air, they announced today that the Amazon Scout program will be piloted (well, pilotlessly piloted) 😉 in Washington State. There have been a lot of stories about it in the past hour or so, not surprisingly:

Bing news search

These are little cooler-sized robots on wheels…it would be fine to call them drones, although most people think of that term as meaning flying devices now.

Here’s a video:

YouTube video

It’s six-wheeled, so it looks a bit like a Mars/Moon rover. It moves at approximately a walking pace.

In the video, it shows up at the house…and the occupant comes out and it pops open the lid.

It’s not explained how it knows that the person is there: maybe some interaction with an app on the phone, or even Alexa? I could see Alexa announcing that Scout is outside, and you verbally acknowledging that you were heading out to meet it.

Initially, a human Amazon employee will accompany it.

Eventually, it should be able to deliver on its own.

From where? A Fulfillment Center? Not likely…my guess is that an Amazon “mothership” truck shows up in a neighborhood, and then these are dispensed (one package per Scout…again, my guess) to do that “last mile” delivery which has been so complicated to make work effectively.

I don’t see it as terribly practical initially, but having a high “cool” factor.

Eventually, we may get to something like I pictured in a short story in late 2017:

Regular Delivery

This will, I’m sure, grow quite gradually, with it being years before it is available in your city, and especially in more rural areas…but we could see it in some big cities…oh, by the middle of 2020.

What do you think? How subject will these be to theft/vandalism? How will this affect all those people Amazon has delivering packages now? Would it annoy you if one was on the sidewalk with you…what about if you were in a wheelchair? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

Recovery update: knock virtual wood, my recovery from my hip replacement is going astonishingly well! It’s about a week out, and my physical therapist said I could start using the cane (instead of the walker) maybe 25% of the time. When I tried that, it just felt like I was back to normal! I know I’m not, of course, but I’ve been walking with a cane for years, so it seemed natural. It frees a hand, which can be useful getting through doors…and the dog gate. 😉 I asked my surgeon about picking up heavy packages (we got our Subscribe & Save monthly delivery from Amazon recently…probably 20 kilos/45 pounds or so), and unsurprisingly, that would not be a good idea. 🙂

Bonus deal:


Kindle Daily Deal (at AmazonSmile…benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

includes Arthur C. Clarke’s Rendezvous with Rama ($1.99, also available through Kindle Unlimited) | 4.4 stars out of 5, 1,248 customer reviews, and Named of the Dragon from Susanna Kearsley ($2.99) | 4.2 stars, 385 reviews.


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* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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