FedEx launches e-commerce delivery bot trial
Written by Hannah McGrath
FedEx is set to to catch up with rival US delivery giant Amazon with the launch of an autonomous delivery bot based on Segway-style technology.
Under a pilot scheme due to go live this summer in Memphis, the FedEx SameDay Bot will enable retail partners including PizzaHut and Walmart to accept orders from nearby customers for same-day and last mile delivery services.
The pilot programme, part of FedEx’s preparation for the “future of e-commerce”, is aimed at gathering data on retailers’ autonomous delivery needs, as well as uptake amongst customers of automated bot delivery.
On average, more than 60 percent of merchants’ customers live within three miles of a store location, which FedEx said demonstrated an opportunity for on-demand, hyper-local delivery of food and grocery services.
The bot is being developed in collaboration with DEKA development and research corporation, whose founder Dean Kamen designed and launched the two-wheeled Segway mobility platform, commonly used by tourists to get around city centres.
It comes a month after Amazon announced it had begun trials of an autonomous, six-wheeled delivery robot called Scout, as part of a pilot programme near the e-commerce giant’s Seattle headquarters.
Brie Carere, executive vice president and chief marketing and communications officer for FedEx, said: “The FedEx SameDay Bot is an innovation designed to change the face of local delivery and help retailers efficiently address their customers’ rising expectations.”
“The bot represents a milestone in our ongoing mission to solve the complexities and expense of same-day, last-mile delivery for the growing e-commerce market in a manner that is safe and environmentally friendly.”