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Amazon stops field tests of ‘Scout’ home delivery robot

Amazon Scout

Amazon‘s one of the most ambitious projects, its automated delivery robot “Amazon Scout” has come to a halt. The US retail giant on Thursday announced that it will stop live tests company’s autonomic robotic vehicle designed to make deliveries after realizing the program did not completely meet its customers’ needs.

Amazon started field testing Scout back in 2019 when Scout started making deliveries in select markets in California and Washington. Washington neighborhood, two years after it acquired robotics firm Dispatch. In 2022, Scout services expanded to Georgia and Tennessee. The robots were smaller in size than a cooler which rolled along sidewalks at a walking pace to deliver the package.

Globally,  400 employees were working on the delivery project. Amazon says that it is working with employees during this transition, matching them to open roles that best fit their experience and skills. The step came as Amazon’s cost-cutting measure as growth in its core retail sector slows, Bloomberg reported. Not very long ago, Amazon also killed off its interactive, family-friendly video device, Amazon Glow, and is in process of winding down its telehealth service, Amazon Care, by the end of the year.

Notedly, Amazon says it isn’t killing the robot but is instead scaling back the program.  Amazon spokesperson Alisa Carroll told The Verge, “We are scaling the program back and still have a team dedicated to Scout.” She further added, “there were aspects of the program that weren’t meeting customers’ needs. 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.”

Amazon has its drone delivery service- a project that it announced in 2016. However, there have been several reports suggesting mismanagement, unrealistic expectations, and high employee turnover within the team. The company is putting more promotional power into the offering, expanding Amazon Prime Air’s reach.

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