One day soon, A cute little FedEx robot may be making deliveries on your street. That’s the vision behind the FedEx SameDay Bot, recently unveiled by the delivery company. The robot was developed by DEKA Development & Research Corp, whose founder is Dean Kamen of Segway fame.
The bot is named “SameDay” because the goal of the project is to assist retailers in their “last mile” deliveries to their local customers.
FedEx is collaborating on the test program with retailers like Pizza Hut, AutoZone, Lowe’s, Pizza Hut, Target, Walgreens and Walmart.
FedEx states that, on average, more than 60 percent of the average merchant’s customers live within three miles of the store’s location, which presents opportunities for companies and technology that can nail that “last mile.”
“The FedEx SameDay Bot represents the next chapter in our long legacy of delivering innovation and outstanding service, supported by an already existing FedEx logistics ecosystem,” Brian Philips, president and CEO of FedEx Office, said in a statement. “We are excited to bring this technology to address new markets and better support our customers. The companies who have provided feedback on its potential use have been instrumental in ensuring we are looking towards the future of e-commerce.”
The environmentally-friendly, battery-powered bot, which looks a bit like a FedEx box on wheels, can handle steps, curbs, and unpaved surfaces. It sports two small wheels in the front and four other larger wheels, two on each side.
The bot uses multiple cameras, laser light, and machine learning algorithms to avoid pedestrians or other obstacles and to aid it in obeying safety rules.
The tests will begin this summer in FedEx’s home town of Memphis, pending final approval from the city.