Amazon Scout is a robot who works as a courier for the most important online shop in the world. Peculiar traits: he knows how to move autonomously, he is respectful of the environment because he is completely battery powered, and – to put it mildly – he does not even invoke trade union rights to regulate his employment relationship. There was talk of Amazon Scout at the beginning of last year with the start of the first public tests in a Washington neighborhood, in the meantime the robot has been used in four American states and now we are talking about it again because Amazon has decided to form a new team dedicated to the project in Cambridge.
The group will find employment in a pre-existing Amazon development center, the e-commerce giant has published a series of job advertisements (link in SOURCE) aimed at finding software engineers and robotics experts who will take care of Scout with the aim of continuing to evolve the automated delivery system. The new investments concentrated in the United Kingdom suggest that Amazon could decide, in the future, to extend the presence of Scout to the Old Continent.
It is a plausible hypothesis, even considering the current times. The pandemic has changed usual human relationships and made social distancing one of the main measures to fight the virus. In this scenario, the robots employed in Amazon's delivery of goods would be a very useful resource. It should also be remembered that automated delivery systems were in the pipeline even before the health emergency – the same Amazon Scout, as mentioned, has been on the road for over a year and a half.
With a growing turnover – Bezos knows something more and more Scrooge – also investing in Europe in a project like this is something that Amazon can afford to do. Amazon Scout is equipped with six wheels, moves at low speed using the sidewalks and stores the goods to be delivered in a special closed compartment. The Cambridge center where the new working group will operate has previously dealt with other technologies for autonomous deliveries, for example the one used in the Prime Air drone which has recently obtained the green light in the United States for final tests from part of the FAA.