FedEx Corp. developed the FedEx SameDay Bot, an autonomous delivery device designed to help retailers make same-day and last-mile deliveries. With the bot, retailers can accept orders from nearby customers and deliver them by bot directly to customers’ homes or businesses the same day.
FedEx is collaborating with Pizza Hut, Target, Walmart and more to help assess retailers’ autonomous delivery needs.
“The FedEx SameDay Bot is an innovation designed to change the face of local delivery and help retailers efficiently address their customers’ rising expectations,” says 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 says. “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. By leveraging this base in an additional application, we hope that the iBot will become even more accessible to those who need it for their own mobility.”
The FedEx bot is designed to travel on sidewalks and along roadsides, and features pedestrian-safe, 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 follow road and safety rules. Proprietary technology allows it to navigate unpaved surfaces, curbs and even steps.
FedEx plans to test the bot in select markets, including Memphis, Tenn.
“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,” says 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.”