The shipping giant FedEx has given up its aims in robotics, at least for the moment. Remember Purple? The little delivery bot that was supposed to speed up the deadline for the last mile (and avoid hiring staff)?
All right. According to a report of Robotics 24/7, an email from the company's transformation manager Sriram Krishnasamy showed employees a new corporate goal called "Drive", in which the robot Roxo seems to have no place or future. And it's not a rumor: the email explicitly stated that the droid did not meet short-term plans for the new business model chosen. In short, Roxo is dead.
Yet it looked promising
Roxo was created in collaboration with DEKA Research and Development Corp. When launched by the company with great fanfare, the robot could reach a height of about two and a half meters and weighed 450 kilos. Its purpose was to move around crowded neighborhoods and also to climb the steps of the arcades to deliver parcels directly to customers' doors.
Roxo was equipped with 360-degree LiDAR sensors and remote cameras, and housed a sturdy electric battery. It had four wheels to guide it through the streets and even had a small screen on the front that could announce messages.
Deliveries will continue, by hand and in other ways
The new business model will lead FedEX to re-discuss a lot of what it has done, including the collaborations it has started. For example, Drive could put Alphabet's Wing, which supplied unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to FedEx for drone deliveries in the city of Christiansburg, Virginia.
The signal of something that we could have foreseen months ago, in a "jungle", that of delivery, where there is a "lion" that leaves no prisoners. The good thing, however, is that the human factor is back to the surface.
Until new developments (the robotics continues to advance), the deliveries will all be by hand.