Last-mile delivery drivers (like ones working for Uber Eats) likely breathed a sigh of relief Thursday when they heard Amazon halted pilot tests of its six-wheeled robot “Scout” for home deliveries.
Bloomberg said Scout wouldn’t make any more deliveries as the experimental project to disrupt last-mile deliveries would be wound down due to slowing sales growth.
Amazon spokesperson Alisa Carroll said the 400-person team working on Scout would be disbanded and offered new positions within the Amazon organization. She said a skeleton Scout team would remain intact.
“During our Scout limited field test, we worked to create a unique delivery experience, but learned through feedback that there were aspects of the program that weren’t meeting customers’ needs.
“As a result, we are ending our field tests and reorienting the program. We are working with employees during this transition, matching them to open roles that best fit their experience and skills,” Carroll said.
Amazon first rolled out Scout in 2019, with pilot tests across the Seattle metro area and later in California, Atlanta, and Franklin, Tennessee, to disrupt last-mile delivery by taking out the human factor that would lower freight costs.
Several startups have been developing sidewalk robots for last-mile home deliveries, including Serve Robotics, Coco, Tortoise, and Nuro.
Amazon said earlier this year it was focused on reducing costs and returning to a healthy level of profitability in its consumer business. Just days ago, an internal memo from the company told recruiters to halt corporate hiring by mid-month.
The good news for all those multiple jobholders, with some in the last-mile delivery industry — your job security seems intact for now as last-mile sidewalk delivery robots appear to be a major flop.