Some of the latest developments in robotic technology could provide a glimpse into the future. Amazon has been trialling a last-mile delivery robot called Amazon Scout—a small, autonomous vehicle capable of delivering items on its own. The driverless vehicle moves at a walking pace and has measures in place to prevent theft. Currently, the robots are being tested in Snohomish County, Washington, initially being followed by humans in order to see their capability to avoid unforeseen hazards. These robots have become a more realistic possibility given the vast advancements in sensor technology and artificial intelligence.
In other robot news, Gatwick Airport, near London, is introducing valet parking robots. These robots are designed to park customers cars a lot tighter than what humans are capable of, effectively increasing the number of parking spaces available, and cars in the lot. They are GPS programmed forklifts and are capable of parking cars a lot closer together. Not only does this save space, but it reduces the chance of theft, as the cars are so close together. On top of this, customers may take extra comfort in the fact that they don’t have to hand over their keys.
Finally, the first soft robot has been developed by a group of Italian researchers. The robot, which mimics plant tendrils, can curl and climb—something that could lead to the development of wearables that could actively morph their shape. Science Daily reported that the soft robot is made of a flexible PET tube, containing a liquid with electrically charged particles. It’s is still in the research stage with no practical applications just yet, but the potential is enormous.