Skip to main content

FedEx’s new autonomous delivery robots can hop curbs and climb stairs

Meet the FedEx SameDay Bot

In a few short years, delivery robots have gone from futuristic science-fiction dream to seemingly one of the most crowded new fields in tech. The work of companies like the well-funded Starship Technologies and retail giant Amazon, these self-driving robots are already being demonstrated doing everything from delivering takeout on campuses to dropping off mail. Not wanting to be left out, courier delivery service FedEx has announced its own entry into the field with the FedEx SameDay Bot.

As with the other examples mentioned, FedEx’s autonomous delivery bots are capable of traversing the streets using smart Lidar sensors and cameras to avoid obstacles. They also exhibit some impressive abilities to handle uneven terrain, allowing them to navigate on unpaved surfaces, climb curbs, and even handle steps to deliver goods right to the front door. That’s thanks to the involvement of Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway and the impressive stair-climbing iBot Personal Mobility Device.

Not willing to lose any more ground to delivery upstarts, FedEx also revealed an impressive number of companies that it is collaborating with. These include AutoZone, Lowe’s, Pizza Hut, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart.


While robot deliveries from these companies won’t happen overnight, FedEx is working with them to assess how useful autonomous delivery robots could be in helping them make same-day and last-mile deliveries to customers. According to FedEx, upward of 60 percent of these merchants’ customers live within three miles of a store location, thereby making a local robot delivery service a potentially attractive proposition.

“The FedEx SameDay Bot is an innovation designed to change the face of local delivery and help retailers efficiently address their customers’ rising expectations,” Brie Carere, executive vice president and chief marketing and communications officer for FedEx, said in a statement. “The bot represents a milestone in our ongoing mission to solve the complexities and expense of same-day, last-mile delivery for the growing e-commerce market in a manner that is safe and environmentally friendly.”

The SameDay Bot officially made its first public appearance on Tuesday, February 26, during The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Hopefully, it won’t be long before this technology moves beyond late-night comedy show gimmick and becomes an everyday occurrence. Anything that combines robots with saving us an unnecessary trip to the stores is A-OK from our perspective!

Editors' Recommendations

Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
FedEx’s autonomous delivery robot sent packing by New York City

Delivery robots suffered a setback this week when New York City made it clear they’re not welcome there. At least, for now.

On Monday, November 25, just a few days after a FedEx “SameDay Bot” autonomous robot was spotted trundling along a Manhattan street, lawyers for the New York City Department of Transportation sent a strongly worded cease-and-desist letter to the shipping giant, CNN reported.

Read more
Google’s Wing delivery drones will soon ship packages for FedEx and Walgreens
A Wing Delivery Drone

Google-owned drone delivery company Wing will launch a pilot version of its service in Virginia next month, delivering packages for FedEx Express and Walgreens.

Wing published a post on Medium on Thursday announcing the program in Christiansburg, Virginia, starting in October. The company will deliver health care products and other packages and will be one of the first drone delivery programs in the U.S. Along with the big national companies, local retailer Sugar Magnolia will also offer drone delivery via Wing.

Read more
Autonomous robot deliveries are coming to 100 university campuses in the U.S.
starship delivery robots line up

Pioneering autonomous delivery robot company Starship Technologies is coming to a whole lot more university campuses around the U.S. The robotics startup announced that it will expand its delivery services to 100 university campuses in the next 24 months, building on its successful fleets at George Mason University and Northern Arizona University.

Its robots will commence deliveries at the University of Pittsburgh on August 20 and expand to Purdue University on September 9, before coming to dozens of other universities in the coming months. The food-delivering bots will be in operation from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.

Read more