Scout, Amazon‘s planned delivery robot, is being scaled back, but the company is adamant that the project is not yet complete.
The corporation has halted machine testing, according to Bloomberg, and the Scout team, which has 400 members worldwide, is being dismantled. Alisa Carroll, an Amazon spokesman, told The Verge that the business is “not completely abandoning the Scout program”: “We are cutting back on the program, but Scout still has a team,”
“Some parts of the program didn’t satisfy the needs of the customers,”
Carroll told The Verge, “We strived to create a distinctive delivery experience during our Scout limited field test, but we found through feedback that there were some components of the program that weren’t meeting customers’ demands.” We are discontinuing our field tests as a result and refocusing the initiative. Throughout this transition, we are working with employees to connect them with open positions that are the best fit for their expertise and skills.
Scout was introduced in 2019 and has subsequently undergone state-by-state testing. The robot joined a growing fleet of semi-autonomous delivery vehicles, which ranged in size from cooler-sized wheeled robots like Scout and market leader Starship Technologies to “pods” the size of small cars, like those tested by Uber Eats and autonomous driving startup Nuro, as well as those currently being used in China by Amazon’s e-commerce rival Alibaba.
The goal is typically for the robots to take care of “last mile” deliveries, which involve bringing products from nearby distribution hubs to consumers’ front doors. However, it’s not certain that the economics of this technology makes sense, as Amazon’s failure with Scout demonstrates. The robots are ostensibly independent, but they frequently need to be monitored remotely, especially when they encounter unforeseen circumstances. They have minimal benefits over conventional couriers because they are also sluggish, going at a strolling pace.
According to Bloomberg, Amazon’s decision to end the Scout testing is a part of a company-wide initiative to reduce more risky investments as the company’s main retail sector’s development slows. Amazon Glow, an interactive, family-friendly video device, was recently discontinued by the corporation, and by the end of the year, Amazon Care, a healthcare service, would be shut down.
It will be fascinating to see if Amazon Prime Air, their drone delivery service, makes it through this purge. Although the project was first launched in 2016, there have been multiple allegations of poor management, exaggerated goals, and significant staff turnover in subsequent years. Scout has become lost. Could Prime Air be the next to fail?
Jessa Martin is the author of Nogmagazine, A professional in writing by day, and novelist by night, she received her bachelor of arts in film from Howard University and her master of arts in media studies from the New School. A Brooklyn native, she is a lover of naps, cookie dough, and beaches, currently residing in the borough she loves, most likely multitasking.