27th February 2019
FedEx unveils autonomous delivery robot
FedEx Corp. has today announced the "SameDay Bot" – an autonomous delivery service, designed to help retailers make same-day and last-mile deliveries to their customers.
Using this machine, retailers will be able to accept orders from nearby customers and deliver items directly to homes or businesses the same day. FedEx is collaborating with companies such as AutoZone, Lowe's, Pizza Hut, Target, Walgreens and Walmart to help assess retailers' autonomous delivery needs. 60% of these merchants' customers live within three miles of a store location, demonstrating the opportunity for on-demand, hyper-local delivery.
“The FedEx SameDay Bot is an innovation designed to change the face of local delivery and help retailers efficiently address their customers' rising expectations,” said Brie Carere, executive vice president for FedEx. “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.”
The FedEx bot is being developed in collaboration with DEKA Development & Research Corp. and its founder Dean Kamen – inventor of many life-changing technologies including the iBot Personal Mobility Device and the Segway.
“The bot has unique capabilities that make it unlike other autonomous vehicles,” said Kamen. “We built upon the power base of the iBot, an advanced, FDA-approved, mobility device for the disabled population with more than 10 million hours of reliable, real-world operation. By leveraging this base in an additional application, we hope that the iBot will become even more accessible to those who need it for their own mobility.”
The FedEx bot is designed to travel on sidewalks and along roadsides, safely delivering small shipments to customers' homes and businesses. Its features include pedestrian-safe technology, LiDAR and multiple cameras, allowing the zero-emission, battery-powered bot to be aware of its surroundings. These features are coupled with machine-learning algorithms to detect and avoid obstacles, plot a safe path and allow the bot to follow road and safety rules. Proprietary technology makes the bot highly capable, allowing it to navigate unpaved surfaces, curbs, and even steps for an extraordinary door-to-door delivery experience.
FedEx plans to test the bot this summer in select markets, including Memphis, Tennessee, pending final city approvals. This prototype will be refined to meet safety standards and regulations, and the specific needs of customers.
“We couldn't be more excited that FedEx chose its hometown as one of the pilot cities for this revolutionary innovation,” said Jim Strickland, City of Memphis Mayor. “We look forward to working with FedEx to continue introducing technologies that will help improve the quality of life in our community.”