FedEx, Pizza Hut and Walmart are among the businesses set to use a new autonomous delivery robot whose design has been based on the iBot powerchair.
FedEx’s SameDay Bot is designed to help retailers make same-day and last-mile deliveries to customers living nearby and is set to undergo trials in Memphis, US, over the summer.
It has been developed in collaboration with DEKA Development & Research Corp and its founder, Dean Kamen, inventor of the iBot Personal Mobility Device and the Segway.
The iBot, which was manufactured in the US, launched in 2003 after more than 10 years of development and clinical trials. Initially, just a few hundred units could be sold each year at a retail price of around £19,000.
Kamen said that the new delivery bot has “unique capabilities” that make it unlike other autonomous vehicles.
He said: “We built upon the power base of the iBot, an advanced, FDA-approved, mobility device for the disabled population with more than 10 million hours of reliable, real-world operation.
“By leveraging this base in an additional application, we hope that the iBot will become even more accessible to those who need it for their own mobility.”
The FedEx bot is designed to travel on pavements and along roadsides, safely delivering smaller shipments to customers’ homes and businesses.
Bot features include pedestrian-safe technology from the iBot, plus advanced technology such as LiDAR and multiple cameras, allowing the zero-emission, battery-powered bot to be aware of its surroundings.
These features are coupled with machine-learning algorithms to detect and avoid obstacles, plot a safe path and allow the bot to follow road and safety rules.
Proprietary technology makes the bot highly capable, allowing it to navigate unpaved surfaces, curbs, and even steps for an extraordinary door-to-door delivery experience.
Brie Carere, executive vice president and chief marketing and communications officer for FedEx, said: “The FedEx SameDay Bot is an innovation designed to change the face of local delivery and help retailers efficiently address their customers’ rising expectations.
“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.”