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Thursday, June 27, 2019

Amazon Clones a Neigborhood

Look at how Amazon tests difficult scenarios real-life scenarios for delivery.  Have a real space you can manipulate and easily include behaviorally difficult elements, like humans, to understand  design issues.

How Amazon Cloned a Neighborhood to Test Its Delivery Robots  By Tom Simonite in Wired

  In March Matt Bratlien saw something odd in the spacious suburb of Silver Firs, north of Seattle. A six-wheeled robot with the Amazon Prime logo on its sky-blue carapace was driving up and down the sidewalks and curbs, watched by a company representative. “I was surprised, excited, and very curious,” says Bratlien, a partner at Net-Tech, an IT services company in nearby Bellevue.

Bratlien had encountered Scout, a delivery robot Amazon is testing in the area, including by ferrying real orders to customers. Here’s what he didn’t see: Countless digital clones crawling through a virtual copy of the neighborhood that Amazon created with scans of the area collected by lasers, cameras, and aircraft.

Amazon knows a lot about the world thanks to data from its vast retail business and cloud computing platform. It knows a 2-square-kilometer zone of Snohomish County in unusual detail—down to the position of weeds sprouting through the drainage grates. The company’s digital copy mirrors the position of curbstones and driveways within centimeters, and textures like the grain of asphalt within millimeters. .... "

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