Can robots deliver all your packages?

Robots can do practically anything these days, but if there’s one thing we could really use them for right now, it’s delivering stuff.
6:53 | 07/15/20

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Transcript for Can robots deliver all your packages?
Robots can do practically anything these days but there's one thing we could really use them for right now it's delivering stuff. Faced all this corona virus locked business it's either inconvenient dangerous or downright impossible to go out and buy things from physical brick and mortar stores. Which is caused a massive uptick in online ordering for practically everything. Food toilet paper the day's gym equipment you're gonna use for a month and neglect until you have to move out everything. And that's a problem because of putting a huge burden on delivery people who have to risk their lives and work crazy hours just to make sure that everyone else doesn't dramatic instant pots and flaming hot she'd but doesn't have to be like this. Couldn't we just use robots to take some of that pressure off of humans. I'm group friend and this is robots everywhere. A show where we chronicle the slow but steady takeover of our future robot over boards and show you how they're making their way into practically every facet of modern life. Let's start at the time. A holy Grail of robotic delivery is arguably drones. There's nothing more scifi and futuristic in the sky filled with thousands of flying robots autonomously whizzing to and fro faring packages and passengers for me to be. Unfortunately. We're not quite at that point. And he we have the technology is just not really everywhere yet. In fact if you spend any amount of time on the Internet at all you've probably seen delivery drones from some of the companies that are leading the charge in industry. One of the most high profile ones as Amazon prime air which is a vertical takeoff and landing drawn from Amazon also kinda looks like a plastic IKEA bed frame that can fly. Then there's Google's wing drop which looks kind of like it don't be float plane with pontoons glued directly to the wings and is capable of learning packages down a little retractable claws. There's also a bunch more from shipping companies like UPS FedEx and DHL practically every major shipping organization is getting in on the action. Now before we get any deeper here I want to take a second to explain why these drones all look so we. The reason is that they're designed for both the vertical take off and landing and high speed forward wing flight. In other words they use propellers to go up and down but are also capable of flying forward and reaching speeds necessary to create lived with their wings which saves energy over long distances because they don't have to run all of their propellers to stay in the air. So at this point you're probably wondering why didn't even with all of this amazing drone technology do we not have that same day drone based shipping available to everyone. Couple reasons for that first and foremost is logistics. We just don't have a good drone traffic control system. The FAA the Federal Aviation Administration has been working for the past few years to figure out how to keep track of resuming tiny aircraft in this act. Prevent them from crashing to not only each other. But also passenger planes and buildings and cars and unfortunately we still don't have a great system in place until it's done drone delivery just won't be possible to pull off safely. At least not at a large scale. The second reason is efficiency. It might seem like flying a package over the streets and flying a straight line to its destination would be more efficient and putting it in a van. But the fact of the matter is that drones have to fight gravity the whole time that that in the year which means running propellers and consuming energy. So right now that makes drones are more inefficient and ground based mode of transportation trucks vans and even trains. None of which have to fight gravity is much in order to move around. And barring some major technological leap that makes drones crazy efficient that's probably not gonna change any time soon. So despite the fact that their super cool delivery rose just don't make a ton of sense right now. Which brings me to my next point. Fine delivery bots are practical right now but terrestrial delivery box that rove around on the ground totally different story. In fact there are tons of companies big and small that are busy developing ground these robots that can autonomously all packages right to your front door. The best example of this trend is arguably starship robotics. His company which by the way it was founded by the guys who created Skype. Has developed what looks like a six wheeled cooler that can securely store packages inside the chamber and then autonomously drive on sidewalks to deliver them. It's super clever because by sticking the sidewalks and other foot paths instead of actual roads. These robots don't need to meet the super high safety standards are autonomous cars are healthy. This basically means that they're cheaper and less technologically complex deployed so starship already has a bunch of them now the world delivering stuff. His aren't made over a 100000 deliveries. Right now it's mostly operating at university campuses but it's also available in certain cities in the UK and plans to expand more in the very near future. The good news is that you won't have to wait for starship before you can get stuff delivered robotic lead to your house. Starship six wheeled sidewalk but ideas debuted back in 2014 and since then has been copied by a bunch of competitors. One of which just so happens to be this little company that you may have heard of called Amazon. Back in early 2019 the company unveiled Amazon scout robot that looks uncannily similar to the one of starship makes. Now scout hasn't been deployed very widely and is still doing small scale trials in just two cities but if there's any company that's gonna make robotic delivery mainstream it is and a that's not although there are loads of other companies working on the same thing FedEx is getting in on the sidewalk robot game two and is pushing the envelope. Get it. They send mail. They're pushing the envelope by designing even more advanced robot tech in twin nineteen the company launched its rock so robot which in addition autonomously navigating foot past can also climb stairs and deliver stuff directly to your doorstep. If you think that's wild though just wait until you see what Ford is cooking. Technically they didn't develop this robot themselves but they did toss a bunch of money to this company called agility robotics. Which is developed a crazy by people package delivery but with articulated it joins these weird. Ostrich looking legs. Not only can this monster climb stairs and drop off packages but he can also take that final step and ring your doorbell to let you know. So clearly when it comes to delivery box there is a lot of amazing tech out there. We've got ostrich robots we got sidewalk surfing cooler robust and we have drones would retractable claws. All things that seem like they were plucked straight from the pages of scifi novel. But while they're all super impressive and getting more advanced with each passing month chances are low that any of these delivery methods will become mainstream anytime soon. It's gonna take time for the companies behind these amazing robots to refine their technology and scale up their operations. So we're probably still looking at another three to five years minimum before robot delivery is something that the average person has access to. And honestly probably more like ten years before succumbing part of everyday life. So really what I'm trying to say is that 120 point robots are out there. But by 2030. Robots are going to be everywhere.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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