FedEx delivery robots introduced to city council

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Robots will soon occupy the streets of Memphis to deliver FedEx packages.

The robots are called Same-Day Bots, and FedEx made a presentation Tuesday to the Memphis City Council to show how the bots would work.

FedEx is planning to test the bots in only a few cities, including Memphis, and those tests will start in July. FedEx officials did not say how many bots would be on the streets but they would be accompanied by a human in the beginning of testing.

City officials said they're working with FedEx to make sure the bots meet legal and safety requirements.

Doug McGowan, the city's chief operating officer, said potholes and uneven roads may actually help the testing process.

“We  think we represent largely how America is with the conditions of the roads," McGowan said. "We have good ones. We have an aggressive paving schedule. We also have sidewalks in various states of repair, and we have lots of different building types. This is a great test environment for the vehicle to see what it can and can’t do."

FedEx hopes the bots can clear up roadways and deliver packages faster.

“The bot means safety, less traffic congestion and an easier, better way for more people to get their packages," said Jenny Robertson, FedEx vice president of corporate communications.

The bots won't replace any jobs, but instead will open new delivery markets to the shipping company, including pizza and prescription medicine, Robertson said.

City officials said they are not worried about the bots being stolen, as they weigh between 200 and 300 pounds and are GPS-monitored.

Officials compared the bots to the electric scooters, saying there was fear about the scooters getting stolen, but that has not happened.

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