Amazon is taking an earthbound detour with its new drones. The ecommerce giant that has a handful of wild patents for our aerial drone future has taken to the streets around Seattle with a new roving delivery bot.
Dubbed Scout, a six-wheeled robot that looks like a cooler on wheels, began deliveries on January 23 in Washington’s Snohomish County. For the initial test, Amazon fielded six of the robots that will deliver packages during daytime hours. During the test, the robots will have a human Amazon counterpart to make sure the bots perform their deliveries accurately.
While it wasn’t announced, the bots will likely be powered by Amazon’s AWS RoboMaker service that the company announced last November.
If it looks similar to a drone created by Starship and used by Postmates, there’s good reason. According to a TechCrunch article, three U.S. engineers were inspired by Starship’s growth and designed their own six-wheeled delivery bot under the Dispatch flag. The company looks to have been acquired by Amazon, though the details are murky. The only patent belonging to Dispatch was transferred to Amazon in August of last year and Dispatch voluntarily revoked its business license soon after that.
Amazon gave no timeline for the test or details of a broader rollout, but if other delivery bot programs are any indicator, we’ll be seeing a lot more Amazon bots soon.
Take a look at the bot’s introduction below: