The bot essentially looks like a small FedEx box on wheels. Equipped with a camera, the zero-emission bot features pedestrian-safe technology as it travels on sidewalks and along the road to make its last-mile, same-day deliveries to customers. The bots were developed in collaboration with DEKA Development & Research Corp., whose founder also developed Segway.
FedEx plans to start testing the autonomous delivery bots this summer in several cities, including Memphis, Tenn., with the trial initially offering delivery services between FedEx offices.
In its early stages, FedEx will collaborate with AutoZone, Lowe’s, Pizza Hut, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart in an effort to assess retailers’ autonomous delivery needs—particularly what works and what doesn’t for different companies.
FedEx is the latest company to dabble in autonomous delivery. Postmates last year was in talks to develop an autonomous Rover that would travel along Los Angeles sidewalks to deliver items to its shoppers. Amazon has also been developing its autonomous delivery service, with plans to use drones to deliver packages, dropping them off on your doorstep with a parachute.
Other companies have been working to develop driverless car delivery services. Ford announced plans last year to partner with Walmart and Postmates to use self-driving cars to deliver groceries. It also collaborated with Dominos in 2017 to use self-driving cars to deliver pizzas.