- The vice president behind Amazon’s autonomous delivery robot wants people to treat the machines like pedestrians if they see them on the road.
- While the robot is designed for use on footpaths, if there’s a blockage, it would have to use the road. In this case, Sean Scott wants drivers to give them the right of way.
- Amazon began testing this new technology in a neighbourhood in Washington in January. It has not confirmed when or where testing will be expanded.
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Amazon wants its new delivery robots to be treated like pedestrians when they’re on the road.
Sean Scott, the vice president of the team that is creating Amazon’s new six-wheeled footpath delivery robot, Scout, told TechCrunch that drivers should treat these robots in the same way that they would pedestrians if they see them on the road. This means giving them the right of way.
While the robots are generally designed for roaming urban footpaths, on occasions they may have to use the road if there’s a blockage on the footpath. In these cases, Scott said, the robot would drive only on a street that a pedestrian would feel comfortable walking down.
“If you feel safe walking on that road, that’s where we want to be,” he said this week at Amazon’s re:Mars conference. “We want to be viewed as a pedestrian and treated as a pedestrian.”
Some people haven’t always been kind to robots. Starship Technologies, which created its own food-delivery robot, previously said some people were kicking its robots, which are a similar size to Amazon’s Scout.
“Some people pass our robot and kick the robot a little bit,” Starship Technologies’ cofounder Ahti Heinla told Business Insider last year. “That’s not really a problem I think, if people have such anger-management techniques, that’s fine by us – our robot just drives on.”
Amazon unveiled Scout earlier this year and has been testing the machine in Snohomish County in Washington state, which is just north of Amazon’s Seattle headquarters. Customers in the test area who order on Amazon are eligible to have Scout robots arrive at their doorstep.
Amazon hasn’t yet confirmed when or where it will expand the service.
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