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Guide: According to foreign media reports, today, Amazon is testing a delivery robot called Scout in Snohomish County, Washington.

According to foreign media reports, today, Amazon is testing a delivery robot called Scout in Snohomish County, Washington.

The Scout has six wheels, driven by batteries, to advance at walking speed. Currently, in a community in Snohomish County, Washington, only six devices are being tested, and they will deliver packages during the “daytime” from Monday to Friday. According to Amazon, these robots will first be patrolled by human supervisors. This is to ensure that the device is able to "safely and efficiently navigate around pets, pedestrians and anything on the road."

Amazon is far from being the first company to try a sidewalk robot. Startups like Starship and Marble have been testing this concept for years. But as the Internet's largest retailer, Amazon is likely to quickly introduce sidewalk delivery robots as a mainstream phenomenon.

Similar experiments are being conducted in cities and more closed places around the world, such as university campuses and office buildings. Cheap sensors and advanced machine learning techniques make navigation of such robots relatively easy to operate. Unlike autonomous vehicles, when the equipment fails, the risk is relatively small.

Amazon A patent application in 2016 described a model in which small robots on the sidewalk transport parcels from a delivery truck to a customer address. Starship also tried a similar approach, using a full-size truck as a "mother ship", carrying as many as eight unmanned sidewalk convoys, and a truck package to a community. A staff member then transfers the parcel from the truck to the drone on the sidewalk, which then delivers the parcel to each customer's address.

Of course, to make this model work, you need to rethink the way package delivery is delivered. Now, Amazon hires employees to put packages on the customer's front porch, which are left unattended until the customer gets home. But Amazon's sidewalk drones don't seem to be dedicated to delivering packages. Instead, a video attached to the announcement shows that a robot from Amazon stopped at the door of a customer’s door and the customer came out to welcomeTake the drone.

As a result, Amazon may drive a truck to a community filled with packages for the community's customers. Once the truck arrives, it may notify the customer that it is nearby so that the customer can get an accurate delivery window within the next few hours. If there are no customers on that day, the truck can keep the package and try again the next day.

This seems to be a more complicated model, but it can reduce package theft and if it allows the deliveryman to deliver more packages per day, the result may be more efficient. This may also be accompanied by a shift in shopping behavior. Customers may have gotten used to placing orders in the workplace in the morning and then waiting to pick up the goods from the robots on the sidewalk at night.

Obviously, this is only speculation. Amazon's statement did not provide detailed information about how its sidewalk robots would be loaded, nor did it explain how the company would ensure that customers could pick up packages when the robot arrived. The statement said that customers will "order as usual, their Amazon package will be delivered by our trusted partners or Amazon Scout." But did not specify how these options will work with the delivery robot.

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