- Amazon has been issued a patent for a robot that would stay at an individual's home, apartment or office building and retrieve packages for them. The Spoon was the first to report on the patent.
- The robot would be able to receive messages from and meet a larger delivery vehicle at a specified time and location. Multiple robots would be able to queue themselves whenever a delivery vehicle arrives, so packages are placed with the correct bot, according to the patent.
- This kind of autonomous pick-up capability could allow them to expand into earlier deliveries, potentially even between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m., the company says in its filings.
Amazon says in its patent filing this little machine is about bringing more speed and efficiency to last-mile delivery.
"Over time," Amazon wrote, "an increasing frequency and volume of delivery of items from e-commerce and mail-order companies has resulted in an increased need for faster and more efficient delivery methods."
And a solution like this could accomplish that goal. A single driver delivering packages to a single location to meet a team of stay-at-home robots would be likely to save time compared to going to all of those homes individually.
The patent describes a rolling robot that uses an array of sensors and computing hardware to wirelessly communicate with a remote computing system that handles and organizes the orders. The robot itself would lock and users could access the storage compartment using a security code. Amazon even mentions it could be outfitted with the ability to open garage doors, allowing itself to enter and exit a home on its own. The storage compartment itself could be refrigerated and could be outfitted with various sensors that allow it to know when it's hauling a package.
It's important to note here that a patent is not necessarily an indication this robot will ever come to the market.
While we may not have our own delivery robots anytime soon, the drawings in the patent do look similar to other last-mile delivery robots that are currently hitting the sidewalks like Amazon's Scout robot and the delivery vehicles from Starship Technologies.
But having the robot stay at a user's home means they don't have to be around to pick up the order, and there is less of a chance a package will be stolen when it's left on the stoop. Carriers and tech startups focused on avoiding package theft have so far come up with options like Latch, Amazon Key and lockers.
Maybe a live-in robot is just the next step to ensure our Amazon orders don't end up in the wrong hands.