Delivery Robots from Ford, Amazon & FedEx Will Go the Last 10 Yards

CNN Business reported recently on a variety of delivery robots designed to move out of autonomous vehicles and take packages to the doorstep of an address. Ford’s experimental robot, Digit, “walks” on two legs, while Amazon’s delivery bot Scout rolls like a compact vacuum cleaner-sized container. FedEx is testing a robot that can climb stairs, much like a Segway.

A story describes Digit thusly:

“It could be the headless cousin of a battle droid from the much-maligned Star Wars prequels.”

Driverless delivery would lower companies’ costs an estimated 60%.

The possibility that the machines will replace the friendly FedEx or UPS delivery person is more likely than not. According to a recent Wired magazine story, companies see profits in putting their money behind robots, which don’t get injured or sick. According to the book “Rise of the Robots,” machines will gain increasingly more sophisticated skills and become capable of taking over human roles.

A 2017 study on robots replacing humans in jobs conducted by researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston University found that industrial robots are already the most widespread example of job replacement, with between 1.5 and 1.75 million in operation, “a number that could increase to 4 to 6 million by 2025. The automotive industry employs 39 percent of existing industrial robots, followed by the electronics industry (19 percent), metal products (9 percent), and the plastic and chemicals industry (9 percent).”

A Stanford University study predicts that robots will take over jobs that require much greater finesse, such as transportation, home services, medicine, education and public safety. However, those advances will not come without a price, as demonstrated by the seven fatalities related to autonomous cars, so far.