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Amazon seeks patent for autonomous ground vehicle

Autonomous ground vehicle
A diagram shows the configuration for an autonomous ground vehicle with two compartments. (Amazon Illustration via USPTO)

Is a robotic retriever in your future?

Amazon thinks so: In a patent application published today, inventors working for the Seattle-based online retailer lay out a detailed plan for an autonomous ground vehicle that can roll out from someone’s home, pick up a package from a delivery truck and bring it to the right place.

The boxy robot depicted in the 2016 application looks a lot like the delivery robot that Starship Technologies has built for delivering meals on wheels. But the AGV’s intended function is more of a throwback to the 1950s idyll in which the family dog fetches the newspaper and lays it at its master’s slippered feet.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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