Amazon plans to build Scout delivery robot technology in Finland

Amazon is launching Scout, a standalone delivery device.

Source: Amazon

Amazon announced Thursday that it plans to develop new technology for its autonomous delivery vehicles in Helsinki, Finland.

The Seattle-based tech giant said in a blog post that it is establishing a new “Development Center” to support Amazon Scout, which is a fully electric autonomous delivery robot that is being tested at four US locations.

Initially, two dozen engineers will be located at the Amazon Scout Development Center in Helsinki, the company said, adding that they will focus on research and development.

One of its main goals will be to develop 3D software that “simulates the complexity of real life” and ensures that “Scout can navigate safely while making deliveries,” Amazon said.

“The Amazon Scout team in Helsinki will grow over time,” Amazon said. “We are now hiring engineers who are at the forefront of robotics and autonomous systems technology.”

The launch of the new development center in Helsinki comes half a year after Amazon reportedly acquired local 3D modeling firm Umbra, which also has offices in the United States and the Asia-Pacific region, according to LinkedIn. Founded in 2006, Umbra is reported to have raised $ 3.4 million from investors before being acquired.

“Umbra enables 3D graphics engineers and designers to create, optimize, share, and view their designs in real time on virtually any device,” Umbra writes on his LinkedIn page. “As the established gaming industry standard in graphics optimization for over a decade, Umbra is now redefining fast display for all industry ecosystems using complex 3D models.”

Amazon did not immediately respond when CNBC tried to confirm the acquisition.

It’s not uncommon for Amazon to start up in a new city after a local acquisition. In fact, the company established a presence in Cambridge, UK, following the acquisition of artificial intelligence startup Evi Technologies. Amazon in the UK started with the acquisition of Bookpages, which is why Amazon was based in the English city of Slough for many years.

Amazon said the development center in Helsinki will work alongside Amazon staff at Amazon Scout’s R&D lab in Seattle, as well as teams in Tubingen, Germany and Cambridge, where Amazon has been developing delivery drones for several. years.

About the size of a small refrigerator, Amazon Scout vehicles can carry small packages along sidewalks when passing.

Delivery robots are widely viewed as a potentially useful asset in last-mile delivery, but they could also replace hundreds of thousands of jobs.

They are also being developed by Starship Technologies, which was created in 2014 by Skype co-founders Janus Friis and Ahti Heinla.

In January, Starship said its robots have completed 1 million deliveries in countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Estonia and Germany.

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