With drone delivery still a ways off, enter Amazon's self-driving delivery robot. Amazon Scout is a "cooler-sized" electric vehicle on six wheels, intended to deliver Amazon packages along a delivery route, reports the Seattle Times. A promotional video shows Scout cruising down a sidewalk, stopping in front of a home, and lifting its top to reveal a package as a woman retrieves it. Until kinks can be ironed out, however, just six Scout vehicles are roaming Washington's Snohomish County in daylight hours from Monday to Friday, each accompanied by an Amazon employee who can remove a package if the addressee isn't home. Though it’s unclear how such a situation would be handled later, the robots can at least "safely and efficiently navigate around pets, pedestrians and anything else," executive Sean Scout writes in a blog post.
Much about the system remains secret—it's unknown where exactly the robots are running, for one thing—but it "will transform our customers' experiences in ways we can't even imagine yet," the Times quotes from one of 21 Seattle job postings related to Scout. Per Wired, dodging foot traffic and crossing streets is "an incredible challenge in these early days of advanced robots," particularly for Amazon. It reports the company is "very late to this ground-based delivery robot game, which is crowded with players that already have years of real-world experience." Per the AP, Starship Technologies' six-wheeled robots already deliver hundreds of food orders across the George Mason University campus in Fairfax, Va., every day. Though delivery is "not the fastest thing in the world," as one student puts it, the robots do stop for pedestrians. (A robot waitress delivers pizzas in Pakistan.)