FedEx announced that it’s testing out an autonomous robot called SameDay Bot to get packages to customers — the latest company to try to automate so-called last-mile parcel deliveries. The shipper is teaming up with brands like Walmart and Pizza Hut to test the six-wheeled robot in multiple cities across the country, including Memphis. Amazon, Postmates and Starship Technologies have all announced their own autonomous-delivery vehicles in a rush to compete for the lucrative last-mile shipping market.
The robot rolling down the street just might be delivering a FedEx package to your home or office.
That’s the vision, anyway, behind the FedEx SameDay Bot that the shipping giant unveiled Wednesday. This sub-200-pound autonomous delivery robot was developed by DEKA Development & Research Corp, whose founder is Segway inventor Dean Kamen.
The SameDay Bot is so-named because its mission is to help retailers make same-day, “last-mile” deliveries to local customers. FedEx is collaborating with AutoZone, Lowe’s, Pizza Hut, Target, Walgreens and Walmart.
FedEx plans to test the bot this summer in select markets and FedEx Office locations, starting in the company’s own Memphis hometown, pending final approval by the city. That approval would appear to be likely since it has the backing of Mayor Jim Strickland.
According to FedEx, 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.
Prior to making its formal announcement, FedEx teased the news on Twitter.
FedEx currently offers same-day delivery service in 32 markets and 1,900 cities, using branded FedEx vehicles and uniformed human FedEx employees.