FedEx Unveils Autonomous Robot for Last-Mile E-Commerce Deliveries

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FedEx Unveils Autonomous Robot for Last-Mile E-Commerce Deliveries

By Tim Denman - 02/27/2019

FedEx Corp. has unveiled its SameDay Bot, an autonomous delivery device designed to help retailers make same-day and last-mile deliveries to their customers.

With the bot, retailers will be able to accept orders from nearby customers and deliver them by bot directly 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 percent of merchants’ customers live within three miles of a store location, demonstrating the opportunity for on-demand, hyper-local delivery.

“The FedEx SameDay Bot is an innovation designed to change the face of local delivery and help retailers efficiently address their customers’ rising expectations,” said Brie Carere, executive vice president and chief marketing and communications officer for FedEx. “The bot represents a milestone in our ongoing mission to solve the complexities and expense of same-day, last-mile delivery for the growing e-commerce market in a manner that is safe and environmentally friendly.”

The FedEx bot is being developed in collaboration with DEKA Development & Research Corp. and its founder Dean Kamen. “The bot has unique capabilities that make it unlike other autonomous vehicles,” Kamen said. “We built upon the power base of the iBot, an advanced, FDA-approved, mobility device for the disabled population with more than 10 million hours of reliable, real-world operation.”

The First Group of Fedex parters to View the Prototype React

Alex Gourlay, Co-COO, Walgreens Boots Alliance

With FedEx as a partner, Walgreens has become the fastest choice for next-day prescription delivery in the U.S., and we’re excited that through our growing relationship, the FedEx SameDay Bot is another way we can offer better service and greater convenience to our customers.

John Mulligan, COO, Target

We continue to invest in new tech and capabilities that make Target the easiest place to shop – both now and in the future. We’re excited to be collaborating with FedEx to explore how autonomous robots could enhance delivery services and more, ensuring we continue to exceed our guests’ expectations.

Don Frieson, EVP, Supply Chain, Lowe’s

The convenience and capability of the FedEx Same Day Bot has the potential to greatly simplify and speed distribution for the full range of our customers. Consider pros who could save time and money by never leaving the job site for the critical tools and supplies they need from Lowe’s.

 

The FedEx bot is designed to travel on sidewalks and along roadsides, safely delivering smaller shipments to customers’ homes and businesses. Bot features include pedestrian-safe technology from the iBot, plus 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. Proprietary technology makes the bot highly capable, allowing it to navigate unpaved surfaces, curbs, and even steps for an extraordinary door-to-door delivery experience.

FedEx plans to test the bot this summer in select markets, including Memphis, TN, pending final city approvals. The initial test will involve deliveries between selected FedEx Office locations. FedEx Office currently offers a SameDay City service that operates in 32 markets and 1,900 cities using branded FedEx vehicles and uniformed FedEx employees. The FedEx bot will complement the FedEx SameDay City service.

“The FedEx SameDay Bot represents the next chapter in our long legacy of delivering innovation and outstanding service, supported by an already existing FedEx logistics ecosystem,” said Brian Philips, president and CEO of FedEx Office. “We are excited to bring this technology to address new markets and better support our customers. The companies who have provided feedback on its potential use have been instrumental in ensuring we are looking toward the future of e-commerce.”