FedEx ditches its last-mile delivery robot program

Ironically, a human in a FedEx uniform will replace the Roxo to deliver those packages.

FedEx ditches its last-mile delivery robot program
Image credits: ArsTechnica

Courier company FedEx is ceasing the development of its last-mile delivery robot, Roxo, reported Robotics 24/7. FedEx confirmed to the publication that the company would be deviating focus away from the bot to more “nearer-term opportunities.”

Back in 2019, FedEx partnered with New Hampshire-based DEKA Research and Development Corp to generate a wheeled robot called Roxo for last-mile deliveries.

Roxo isn’t the only delivery robot whose development will be stopped. Amazon is also scaling back its Scout delivery bot program, which had been doing last-mile deliveries in the suburbs outside of Seattle and in Georgia, Tennessee, and Southern California.

FedEx ditches its last-mile delivery robot program
Image credits: Tracy Wilcox/PGA TOUR

FedEx said, “We are immensely proud of our role in working with DEKA to advance this cutting-edge technology that has put it on the path to future implementation, and we remain committed to exploring last-mile innovations that align with our business strategy.”

Roxo is a 1,575-mm (62-inch) tall bot which weighs 450 lbs (204 kg) and has a cargo capacity of up to 100 lbs (45 kg). It was created to navigate roadsides, sidewalks, and between pedestrians and parked cars to deliver cargo to a customer’s door.

It also has a 360-degree lidar sensor with 360-degree long-range cameras above its rounded shell. There are 180-degree stereo cameras and a 360-degree radar sensor around the base, and a display that can deliver messages is set into the front of the bot.

“Although robotics and automation are key pillars of our innovation strategy, Roxo did not meet the necessary near-term value requirements for DRIVE. Although we are ending the research and development efforts, Roxo served a valuable purpose: to advance our understanding and use of robotic technology rapidly,” the company’s chief transformation officer, Sriram Krishnasamy, wrote.

Roxo isn’t FedEx’s only incursion into new technology. It has also been executing trials of drone deliveries with an Alphabet company called ‘Wing’ in the town of Christiansburg, Virginia. The project’s survival strategy remains unknown.

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