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Amazon seen testing its delivery robots cloning a neighbourhood

A six-wheeled robot with the Amazon Prime logo on its sky-blue carapace was seen driving up and down the sidewalks and curbs at the spacious suburb of Silver Firs, north of Seattle, watched by a company representative.

The delivery robot by Amazon is named Scout, which is testing in the area, including by ferrying real orders to customers. Countless digital clones crawled through a virtual copy of the neighbourhood that Amazon created with scans of the area collected by lasers, cameras, and aircraft.

Amazon’s mapping and simulation technology is not just a research tool. It could also help Amazon deploy the robots to new neighbourhoods when they are ready for general use, by first testing them in simulations. Scout joins a delivery fleet that includes 40 aircraft and 30,000 delivery vans. The company has deep experience with robotics; it employs more than 200,000 of them inside its retail operations to move shelves, load pallets, and sort packages, among other tasks.

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