Autonomous delivery robots coming to streets near you - Fedex SameDay Bot & friends
Same day delivery with a SameDay Bot
If you have ever seen a Star Wars film or any other futuristic movie, it is very easy to notice one thing — robots are increasingly becoming a trend. We have been building and implementing them in our future for decades now, and while many of us never expected them to start appearing during our lifetime, it is actually happening right now.
Real-life robots do not look like the ones from movies and dont have the same purpose. These days, most robots that you might end up encountering are delivery bots created by brilliant researchers and developers throughout the world. The best example right now is FedEx's SameDay Bot.
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What is the SameDay Bot?
The SameDay Bot is a new type of a short-range delivery robot that FedEx announced back in February of 2019, and it started experimenting with it quite recently.
The Bot is basically a box on wheels, with a few screens that allow it to communicate with pedestrians and a number of sensors that allow it to move through crowded streets and determine its route. The robot is powered by a battery, and its top speed is at around 10 mph. Other than that, it is fully autonomous, and it can easily move around people and traffic on the street thanks to a combination of LIDAR sensors, similar to those in self-driving cars.
FedEx is also not the only company who is experimenting with robots. Amazon has been doing it for years, albeit in their own warehouses. There are also numerous startups that are focusing on robots, as well as some major firms that are developing them as a side activity.
No matter who is doing it, the point is that it took us only a few short years for robots to go from a futuristic science-fiction dream to one of the most crowded new fields in technology which is amazing to see in our lifetimes.
There may be some obstacles but it is only natural
Now, while all of this does sound pretty cool, it is important to say that the road to the world where humans can coexist with robots is not easy. We can figure out how to make them and program them to do what we want them to do, that's not a problem.
The biggest issue right now is getting the government approval to have them out there on the streets. While there were no incidents caused by robots anywhere in the United States as of yet, the governments remain skeptical.
Earlier this year, robots emerged on the streets of San Francisco but were quickly pulled back because the legislators proclaimed them a nuisance and restricted their movements. The same happened only a month ago in New York City.
In the tweet below, there is a video in which you can see one of FedEx's NYC robots in action:
Now, you may think that this is a very cool thing to just bump into on the street, and in our opinion — you are perfectly correct. However, the authorities might not agree with that. The NYC Mayor, Bill de Blasio, had this to say:
First of all, @FedEx, never get a robot to do a New Yorker’s job. We have the finest workers in the world.— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) November 23, 2019
Second of all, we didn’t grant permission for these to clog up our streets. If we see ANY of these bots we’ll send them packing. https://t.co/XxJIrIW9vr
Obviously, he is not thrilled to see robots on the streets of his city, and for a variety of reasons although we confident that he will come around! For now, delivery bots and drones are restricted to campuses and similar closed-off areas.
While that is fine for the first step, researchers and developers have been working long and hard to ensure that robots would not be a danger in the streets, while they could help reduce the pollution, reduce the number of vehicles that need to be out there, delivering things in the short-range, and more.
Our smart friends and researchers at MIT have also developed new technology called SLAM which enables robots to be able to get a sense of what things are.
See a company with a food delivery robot..
These are the years when our technological advancement can really take off. Visions of the future where humans can coexist, and even rely on robots to do some of the tasks are no longer figments of writers' imagination. These things are coming, and we should dedicate our efforts to learning about them and finding a way to live with them, instead of fearing progress.
Fortunately, not every state is as keen to shut down unmanned delivery bots. Virginia was the first to allow unmanned ground delivery robots to do their thing, and Idaho already became the second one. Furthermore, they did it back in early 2017, which is worthy of praise.
Wisconsin and Florida are also open to delivery robots. So are plenty of other companies, such as Lowes, Pizza Hut, Walmart, Target, AutoZone, and others, who are negotiating the terms of employing FedEx-like bots right now.
Pizza Hut aims to revolutionize how pizza is made and delivered - make the pizza while its being delivered for extra that fresh pizza!
The robots are coming!
Robots are coming. Their arrival will not happen overnight, it will happen eventually which is fine. In fact, every technological move we have made in the last 50 years helped improve lives and make the world a better place.
Modern technologies are not something that we should fear but encourage but at the same time, use for good and improvement of human lives. If you see a robot delivering packages and mail on the streets of your city or town, remember that you are witnessing history unfold before your very eyes, and know that the future is here- and also, please be friendly to them!
If everything is moving together, then success takes care of itself - Henry Ford
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