Business In News
Amazon will end live testing of its Amazon Scout automated delivery robots but will not completely abandon the project. The ecommerce giant will continue to explore the concept, maintaining a dedicated Scout team, but it is scaling back the current program.
“During our limited field test for Scout, we worked to create a unique delivery experience, but learned through feedback that there were aspects of the program that weren’t meeting customers’ needs,” said Amazon spokesperson Alisa Carroll in a statement emailed to Retail TouchPoints. “As a result, we’re ending our field tests and reorienting the program. We are working with employees during this transition, matching them to open roles that best fit their experience and skills.”
Amazon started testing of the fully-electric Scout in Washington State in early 2019 before expanding to Southern California, Georgia and Tennessee. The initial tests had employees walk with the robots to make deliveries during weekday daylight hours. The robots were designed to “safely and efficiently navigate around pets, pedestrians and anything else in their path” as they navigated to a customer’s door, where they automatically opened their top hatch to let the recipient receive their package.
Kroger also has been testing automated delivery since 2018, and Walmart launched its own program in 2019 in partnership with Ford and Gatik. Walmart in particular has been steadily expanding its autonomous investments, including by entering a multi-city autonomous delivery collaboration with Argo in 2021.