Amazon Key, the Amazon drone project …Amazon forever comes up with newer more efficient ways of getting your orders to you fast, and cheap. Now on the Amazon blog, they have showcased Scout, and it’s already moving to the second phase of its real-world testing in Irvine, California.
So what exactly is Scout? It’s a small, autonomous six-wheeled robot about the same size as a large cooler or a recycling bin. Powered by batteries, it moves at a walking pace and previously was undergoing testing by making human-supervised deliveries in a single suburban neighborhood in Snohomish County in Washington state, just north of Seattle.
A big part of Scout’s development has been done in simulation, similar to the way companies have been training the neural networks that are being designed to power self-driving cars,. Amazon has made realistic recreations of tons of suburban neighborhoods (where Scout will be operating primarily) and is using them to simulate thousands of deliveries in the span of a single night. These simulations build up a database of knowledge that is supposed to allow the delivery robot to parse situations it might encounter in the real world. For example, if a car is backing out of a driveway as Scout is coming down a sidewalk, it will know to stop because it’s seen this situation in simulation.
Watch this space to find out what’s next in Scouts adventures.