The robots are coming! The robots are coming!
On Wednesday, FedEx introduced SameDay Bot, a 200-pound autonomous delivery robot developed by DEKA Development & Research Corp., according to USA Today.
FedEx is partnering with AutoZone, Lowe's, Pizza Hut, Target, Walgreens and Walmart so they can help make same-day, "last-mile" deliveries to local customers.
Can you imagine a robot delivering your pizza (yes, hot pizza!) instead of a human? This could soon become a reality if testing goes well this summer.
Now before you go on thinking that mini robots will be zipping around your city delivering items from Walmart or Target, there has to be a great deal of testing done on the prototype, and the first city that will test the delivery service will be in FedEx's hometown, Memphis, pending final approval from the city.
The robot is basically R2-D2 with wheels. It can travel up stairs and curbs, and uses laser light technology that none of us will ever understand so it can avoid pedestrians and other obstacles that can get in its way.
Currently, FedEx offers same-day delivery service in 32 markets and 1,900 cities using FedEx employees, but the new robot would be able to deliver to customers who live in close proximity to a FedEx store. The company even says that 60 percent of merchants' customers live within 3 miles of a store location.
FedEx isn't the only company that will unleash robots onto the streets. Amazon is already testing a robot called the Amazon Scout, which looks like a cooler with six wheels.
Of course, once these delivery robots are set up and ready to go in bigger cities, the question will come up regarding whether these robots are taking jobs away from humans who currently deliver packages for FedEx or other companies. These delivery robots also can't deliver packages that need a signature, so there is that, too.