FedEx is investing in the future of robotics and artificial intelligence in logistics with the development of its own autonomous delivery vehicle, the “FedEx SameDay Bot,” for last-mile deliveries of goods ranging from hardware products to pizzas.
The integrator’s initiative named retailers AutoZone, Lowe’s, Pizza Hut, Target, Walgreens and Walmart as future recipients of the service that will be able to deliver products to customers within three miles of a store location for same-day delivery.
Brie Carere, executive vice president and chief marketing and communications officer for FedEx, said the robots are designed to help retailers address customers’ rising expectations for delivery times, perpetuated by e-commerce giants like Amazon and JD.com, the latter of which has already launched a similar initiative in Changsha, China. Like JD’s own autonomous vehicles, the FedEx bot is designed to travel on sidewalks and along roadsides, utilizing multiple cameras and machine-learning algorithms to detect and avoid obstacles.
The FedEx bot is currently being developed in collaboration with DEKA Development & Research Corp. and its founder Dean Kamen, inventor of the stair climbing wheelchair iBot Personal Mobility Device and the Segway.
FedEx said initial tests will involve deliveries between selected FedEx Office locations, which will be performed this summer in select markets, including its home base of Memphis, “pending final city approvals.”
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