Amazon is testing a delivery robot named Scout for customers north of Seattle in Snohomish County, Washington, the retail giant announced today.
About half a dozen Scout robots will be used in initial testing during daylight hours Monday to Friday. All initial deliveries will accompanied by an Amazon employee.
“Customers in Snohomish County order just as they normally would and their Amazon packages will be delivered either by one of our trusted partner carriers or by Amazon Scout,” according to an Amazon blog post published today.
It’s unclear at this time if the employee escorts for Scout are to keep the robot from hitting people or whether they’re there to keep people from hitting the robot.
The all-electric, six-wheeled robot is about the size of a small cooler, and it was made in Amazon research facilities at company headquarters in Seattle.
In addition to Whole Foods groceries or Prime Now same-day deliveries, it’s easy to imagine Scout making deliveries for Amazon Restaurants.
However Amazon chooses to deploy the delivery robot, Scout could compete with a number of roving autonomous delivery machines from companies like Pepsi and Postmates, whose cute robot made its debut last month, as well as startups like Starship Technologies and Marble in the United States and Europe and ForwardX in China.
A home robot named Vesta is reportedly due out from Amazon later this year.
An Amazon spokesperson declined to respond to additional questions about Scout.
Updated 9:32 am Jan. 24 to include Amazon spokesperson’s decline to comment.