Autonomous Vehicle: Fedex Joins the Same-Day Delivery Fray

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Autonomous Vehicle: Fedex Joins the Same-Day Delivery Fray

FedEx has unveiled a prototype of its SameDay Bot, an autonomous vehicle for delivery designed to get smaller deliveries from retailers to nearby customers. Like Amazon and FedEx’s other competitors in the shipping business, FedEx is hoping that autonomous vehicles can help it solve the challenges of last-mile logistics.

FedEx is the next delivery service experimenting with robots for short-distance deliveries, following in Amazon’s robot tracks with their release of the Scout. Today, the company announced its new FedEx SameDay Bot, which it says will make “last mile” deliveries more efficient.
FedEx is collaborating with companies such as AutoZone, Lowe’s, Pizza Hut, Target, Walgreens and Walmart to help assess retailers’ autonomous delivery needs. On average, more than 60 percent of 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 and chief marketing and communications officer 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.

FedEx’s autonomous vehicle has a top speed of 10 mph and can carry about 100 pounds. A company spokesman said its typical speed would vary depending on the route. The robot relies on sensors typically used on self-driving cars to identify and avoid pedestrians.
The robot is being developed by DEKA, the Manchester, New Hampshire engineering company owned by Segway inventor Dean Kamen. It’s based on and resembles the iBot, a motorized, self-balancing wheelchair that Kamen built in the 1990s.

Author: Tim Cole
Image Credit: FedEx

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