Weekly Roundup: Bots, Bots and More Bots

by | May 6, 2019

2 min read


FedEx’s Same Day Delivery Bot

FedEx has developed a same-day delivery robot to facilitate last mile deliveries. The bot is battery powered, and travels on sidewalks and the side of roads to deliver small parcel shipments to customers.

FedEx has already planned to test the delivery bot this summer in select markets. Retail partners for the bot include: AutoZone, Lowe’s, Pizza Hut, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart.

The bot is equipped with LiDar, a program that allows the bot to navigate around obstacles. With this technology, the bot is empoweredto traverse most terrains, including unpaved sidewalks, curbs and gravel roads. Final tests are underway to ensure successful bot transportation before its public debut. It remains to be seen whether or not the bot is tripped up at all with the final tests before it goes public.

Starship’s Autonomous Courier Bot

Starship has announced that its autonomous courier bots have competed 50,000 commercial deliveries worldwide since the service was first launched in the United Kingdom last year. Along with the 50,000 deliveries, Starship also boasts that the robots have traveled more than 200,000 miles during their time.

It’s not the largest number when compared to FedEx, currently shipping 15 million packages per day and Domino’s Pizza with 2 million pizzas shipped daily. Starship has plans to one day reach those high numbers, but for now they are serving smaller locations including college campuses in the United States.

The market for delivery robots is expanding and it’s not seen as just an experiment anymore. More companies worldwide are designing their own delivery bots for their internal operations systems. This means that the figures stated are likely to rise in the next few years.

Lowe’s Putting FedEx’s Bots to the Test

As mentioned at the beginning of our Roundup, Lowe’s is just one of the retailers that is on board with FedEx’s first autonomous delivery bot. The bot is reported to be in the stair climbing test phase, allowing multi-level building deliveries (apartment dwellers, rejoice!). Lowe’s is specifically interested in the cost and operational impact that robots have on the last mile of its supply chain.

The main aim of the delivery bot is to conveniently deliver smaller items, such as drill bits, blades, and five-gallon pails of paint to customers who would make a last-minute visit to the store for just one item.

The bot weighs between 250-300 lbs and, compared to Starship’s 100-lb. bot, FedEx’s bot is supposed to provide more power, quicker delivery and less threat for theft on the job.

When asked if robots were the future of supply chain, Lowe’s replied “I would assume that in five years you’ll have a few big players shake out, but I think you’ll always have choices.” Lowe’s is currently one of the companies (like Home Depot) experimenting with crowdsourced delivery apps such as Roadie and Deliv.

Topics: Customer Experience, Data Science, FedEx