12 thoughts on “Amazon Delivery Robots”

  1. How many of those need to be stolen or destroyed before Amazon decides they”re a bad idea?

    1. If they’re camera-guided, there will be video of the perpetrators unless someone decides to snipe them from a distance. That is turning out to be a major positive side-effect of the camera-based guidance of Tesla cars. Casual vandals and would-be thieves get caught on camera.

      1. A lot of people have security cameras on their homes and a lot of package thieves still don’t get caught.

        1. Roving bands of faux – or real – Muslim beekeepers stealing Amazon robots.

          Quite a picture.

          There seem to be plenty of ways to apply extant tech to foil even quite sophisticated would-be thieves. If the notional “beekeepers” approach on foot, the cameras will see them. AI software can already recognize faces and distinguish among them. Far less AI sophistication than that would allow the robots to raise an alarm if approached by anyone whose face can’t be seen. The only day this wouldn’t be useful would be Halloween.

          My understanding is that gait analysis software is getting pretty good too. There are getting to be more and more ways to identify people in spite of countermeasures.

          I’m guessing these package-bots are subject to continuous automated monitoring via GPS data transmitted over cell connections. If the robot is suddenly either moving somewhere it hasn’t been commanded to go, or simply drops off the net, police could be summoned, or private security company personnel could be summoned, or Amazon could run its own roving patrol vehicles, or Amazon could use fleets of drones to fly top cover rather than deliver packages – a drone every square mile or so would allow one to get to the site of any attempted robo-kidnap in time to get a look at the perps and/or their vehicle(s).

          I read a sci-fi story back in pre-cell phone times – the name of the author of which I no longer recall – that was all about a steadily escalating war between the phone company and public phone vandals. If any such pissing contest actually develops between Amazon and robo-vandals/kidnappers, my money’s on Amazon to figure out ways to keep the losses to a very modest minimum.

  2. I’m waiting for a different headline:
    “Human excrement collecting robots are on the streets of California”

  3. By taking cars off roads, developers of last-mile delivery robots tout environmental and standard of living benefits to their technology.

    How many buggy sized robots are needed to replace the dreaded car and what is the environmental impact from constructing and powering them? Will they get their own lanes on the road or will they take over sidewalks?

    A lot of unanswered questions but I suspect that the delivery robots will be better sharers of the road than bicyclists.

  4. These will only work in the most controlled environments that can be well mapped, little vehicle traffic, have wide sidewalks and few physical barriers. In other words, probably about 0.5% of all urban/suburban areas such as some college campuses, business parks and perhaps closed retirement communities. On a sidewalk, they are limited to about 3mph so the range is limited to about a mile or less if round-trip delivery times are mean to be kept to be performed within a limited amount of time. Finally, they have to wait until a person unloads the cargo until some sort of standardized containers and secure receptacles become common.

    I just don’t see these being practical in any meaningful way given the current limitations of robotics. However, I guess Amazon has money to burn so it doesn’t surprise me they are at least trying to find some niche for this technology to fit into.

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