business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  Wired reports on how both Amazon and FedEx - each of which has developed "personal delivery devices," or robots that can navigate streets and sidewalks to make deliveries - are investing in lobbying efforts to get bills passed around the country that will allow the devices to be used.

According to the story, "Amazon and FedEx seeded and backed … bills permitting delivery robots in more than a dozen states this year. At least six have become law."

Wired goes on:  

"FedEx’s bot, which is called Roxo and looks like a small refrigerator, has completed on-road tests in four cities. Scout, built to deliver Prime packages, also is testing in four cities. The companies present similar visions: A delivery van full of robots would arrive in a neighborhood, and robots would travel the 'last mile' to customers’ doorsteps without human aid."

Both companies concede that the delivery robots are not quite ready for prime time.  But they're getting closer, hence the lobbying efforts.

I think the thing I find most distressing about these robots is their speed.  They apparently move at an approximate speed of six miles per hour, which means they are doing a 10-minute mile.  When I go jogging, my aging knees allow me to do 12-minute miles.  If I'm out for a run and one of these things pass me, I might cry.

•  CNBC reports on how Best Buy this month "will start testing a ship-from-store hub model. About 250 stores — about a quarter of its approximately 1,000 stores — will be specially designated to handle a higher volume of packages, though all stores ship online orders."

CEO Corie Barry said that "the new approach will help speed up orders and improve efficiency over the holidays and beyond.  She said the role of stores has changed but not diminished, and she described them as a 'unique and powerful asset.'  About 60% of Best Buy’s online orders are either picked up at stores or by curbside or shipped from them."