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FedEx Begins Testing Autonomous Delivery Robot

FedEx recently unveiled the ‘SameDay Bot’, what the company calls a “cutting-edge delivery solution to meet the rapidly changing needs of consumers.” The autonomous delivery device designed to help retailers make same-day and last-mile deliveries to their customers, says the company.

With the bot retailers will be able to accept orders from nearby customers and deliver them to customers’ homes or businesses the same day. 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% of merchants’ customers live within 3 miles of a store location, FedEx said, demonstrating the opportunity for on-demand, hyper-local delivery.

The FedEx bot is designed to travel on sidewalks and along roadsides. The six-wheeled device has a top speed of 10 mph and can carry about 100 pounds. It uses advanced technology such as Lidar and multiple cameras, allowing the zero-emission, battery-powered bot to be aware of its surroundings. These features are coupled with machine-learning algorithms to detect and avoid obstacles, plot a safe path and allow the bot to follow road and safety rules. FedEx says the bot SameDay Bot can navigate unpaved surfaces, curbs, and even steps.

FedEx plans to test the bot this summer in select markets, including Memphis, Tennessee, pending final city approvals.

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