A special guest on last night’s episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon was none other than FedEx’s new SameDay Bot, an autonomous delivery device it intends to test in select markets like its hometown, Memphis, this summer.
Similar to Postmates’ Serve, which delivers food and goods, FedEx is working with retailers and restaurants alike. Initial partners include AutoZone, Lowe’s, Pizza Hut, Target, Walgreens and Walmart.
The goal is to provide same-day deliveries of small shipments to homes and businesses, but the initial test will operate between FedEx office locations, complementing its same-day service in 32 markets.
Like Amazon’s Scout, the FedEx bot can travel on sidewalks and along roadsides and it is capable of avoiding obstacles—but the SameDay Bot can also climb stairs, literally providing door-to-door delivery.
According to FedEx’s figures, more than 60 percent of customers live within three miles of a store location on average, which indicates an opportunity in hyper-local delivery.
In a statement, Don Frieson, executive vice president of supply chain at Lowe’s, pointed to speed and convenience, saying, “Consider pros who could save time and money by never leaving the job site for the critical tools and supplies they need from Lowe’s.”
Similarly, Alex Gourlay, co-COO of Walgreens Boots Alliance, said, “With FedEx as a partner, Walgreens has become the fastest choice for next-day prescription delivery in the U.S.”
The FedEx bot is in development with technology company Deka Development and Research and its founder Dean Kamen, who invented the iBot Personal Mobility Device, a wheelchair capable of navigating rough terrain, and the personal mobility device, Segway.