Amazon will no longer publicly test its Scout delivery robots

Amazon’s Scout robot, a small machine that looks like a cooler and can navigate sidewalks, will no longer deliver packages. The e-commerce giant has stopped field testing the experimental machine and is “realigning” the program. Corresponding BloombergThe Scout team has been disbanded and most of its 400 members will be offered new positions within the company. This was announced by Amazon spokeswoman Alisa Carroll Reuters that the company is not abandoning the project altogether. However, only an emergency crew will remain to consider using autonomous robots for deliveries, and that could mean it spells the end for the cooler Scout.

Caroll said:

“During our limited Scout field testing, we worked to create a unique delivery experience, but learned through feedback that there were aspects of the program that were not meeting customer needs. For this reason, we are ending our field testing and realigning the work we do with employees during this transition, matching them to open positions that best match their experience and skillset.”

Amazon began testing Scout back in 2019, initially deploying six units to deliver packages north of Amazon’s home base in Seattle. The machine can autonomously follow a delivery route, and although it was accompanied by a human worker for the tests, it can stop at a customer’s front door and open their lid so they can pick up their purchase. After that initial rollout, Amazon expanded its testing to Southern California, Atlanta, Georgia, and Franklin, Tennessee.

While Carroll didn’t say which exact aspects of the program “were not meeting customers’ needs,” this is just one of the most recent moves Amazon has taken that suggest it will scale back its experimental projects. Just a few days ago, it also killed the kid-focused Glow video calling device, possibly due to lackluster sales.

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