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Fri May 24 2019 23:05:29

Robots in Self Driving Vans Could Deliver Your Items

By: Ina Steiner

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Would you trust a robot in a self-driving vehicle to deliver your packages all the way to buyers' front doors? Ford Motor Company believes the pairing of robots and autonomous vehicles can help solve the challenge of last-mile delivery for the ecommerce industry.

In a blog post this week, Ford wrote:

"One-click shopping and perks like two-day delivery are extremely convenient, but they are taking a toll on our cities and neighborhoods. The U.S. Postal Service alone delivered more than 6 billion packages in 2018, or double the volume it was handling about 10 years ago.

"To help address this issue, Ford is teaming up with Agility Robotics to explore a brand-new frontier in the world of autonomy -  and a new way of thinking about how we make deliveries. Together, we will work toward making sure self-driving vehicles are uniquely outfitted to accomplish something that's proven surprisingly difficult to do: Carry out that final step of getting your delivery from the car to your door."

The robot Ford is testing is called Digit. The vehicle has the bulk of the computing power and transmits information to the robot as needed, so that the robot can be kept lightweight. The robot folds itself up in the back of the vehicle until needed to conserve space.


Not surprisingly Amazon has its own ideas on robotic deliveries, and it introduced "Scout" in January, when the small cooler-sized devices began delivering packages to customers in a neighborhood in Snohomish County, Washington.

Sellers will be wondering if robot-delivered packages will be quicker, with better tracking. And the holy grail: could they reduce the cost of shipping?



Comments (10) | Permalink

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by: hopeforthebest This user has validated their user name.

Sat May 25 12:00:14 2019

I just can't see it working.

These ideas are interesting, however implementation is decades away if they ever happen at all.

BUT in the meantime countless startups will be funded with money from hopeful ordinary investors and vanish into the pockets of founders and ceo's and venture capitalists, so I suppose it's a win anyway.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sat May 25 12:15:22 2019

Talking about the US Postal Service.

I can't believe Elon Musk hasn't courted the US Postal Service for electric vehicles for city carriers.

They are the perfect candidate for such a thing.

They're used in city limits and are used only during the day.

I could even envision seeing Tesla model "S" as police patrol vehicle. (they're way faster then 99% of the cars on the road)

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Sat May 25 13:21:59 2019

I also don't see how this would work. You'd need to put some sort of bar code strip on each house to match with a bar code strip on the package that the car and the robot could read. And you just know the robots and the cars will be prime targets for thieves. And who's to stop a porch pirate from grabbing the box out of the robot's hands and running away as the robot is walking to the door?  

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by: Cloud This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 27 01:40:55 2019

I hope they can drive better than their human drivers can. Last month one of them ran off our driveway into our yard and created big ditches in our lawn trying to get out.  

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by: BargainzBabylon This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 27 02:56:44 2019

This changes nothing - same congestion, same pollution and now we have critters stumbling around trying to deliver packages, none of them with human intelligence to leave them in appropriate places.

Can't wait to see this brand new idea seek to negotiate the dark, twisting, moss-covered roads of my area in a road grid that makes no sense.

And what's really sad is that none of this is even necessary, this isn't life saving medicine - it's just more crap that people want.  

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by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
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Mon May 27 08:58:27 2019

>>And what's really sad is that none of this is even necessary, this isn't life saving medicine - it's just more crap that people want.  <<

More crap people want and think they need it yesterday! I hate getting stuff on Sunday especially since I have never had anything delivered than that I couldn't go without one more day. It is a waste of resources and just encourages people to procrastinate until the last minute. Then, of course, if there is a slip-up and they don't get it at the speed of a Star Trek transformer, the seller gets a neg. A stupid system.

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by: felyne This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 27 10:18:56 2019

More people out of necessary jobs. Technology without responsibility. JMHO

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by: tigerlily This user has validated their user name.
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Mon May 27 17:58:44 2019

As a seller I don't want robots delivering my packages. As a buyer  i don't want a creepy robot  coming to my door..  I'll stick to a real live delivery person please!

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by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 27 23:05:21 2019

No thanks..ig it touches my property i will destroy it

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by: BargainzBabylon This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 30 20:42:20 2019

If it touches MY property I'm going to grab it and make it clean my house. After that it can help me saw up that tree that fell down in the last storm. It can walk my neighbour's dog while he recovers from his broken leg. With a combined 60 years of programming experience in this house, we ought to be able to do something with that funny little headless blue thing.  



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