FedEx Corp. unveiled an autonomous delivery device designed to help retailers make same-day and last-mile deliveries to customers, showing off the robot on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” on Feb. 26.
The next day, the Memphis, Tenn.-based company said the FedEx SameDay Bot will be able to help retailers accept orders from nearby customers and deliver 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, according to a company news release.
More than 60% of merchants’ customers live within 3 miles of a store location, FedEx officials said, demonstrating the opportunity for on-demand, hyperlocal 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 with Deka Development & Research Corp. and its founder, Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway and the iBot Personal Mobility Device.
The FedEx bot is designed to travel on sidewalks and along roadsides and deliver smaller shipments, the company said. Bot features include pedestrian-safe technology and advanced technology such as lidar and multiple cameras. The bot will be zero-emission and battery-powered. The bot will also have machine-learning algorithms to detect and avoid obstacles, plotting safe paths and allowing the bot to follow road and safety rules, FedEx officials said.
FedEx plans to test the bot this summer in select markets, including Memphis, pending final city approvals.
The initial test will involve deliveries between selected FedEx Office locations.
The company already has same-day service in 32 markets and 1,900 cities using branded vehicles and uniformed employees, according to FedEx. The FedEx bot will complement the FedEx SameDay City service, the company said.