If you live in Southern California, your next package from Amazon Prime may actually be delivered by a robot.
Amazon announced on Friday that it is expanding its pilot Scout robot delivery program. While the tech giant was already testing Scout deliveries near its headquarters in Washington, Amazon said it will begin testing the delivery robots on a larger scale in Irvine, California.
Initially, there will only be a “small number” of Scout robots delivering packages on weekdays during daylight hours. While the robots will navigate and deliver packages autonomously, they’ll still be accompanied by an Amazon employee (presumably to make sure no one kicks the robot or anything).
The Scout robot itself is a six-wheeled blue autonomous vehicle outfitted with an electric battery. It moves at a walking pace, but can “safely and efficiently” navigate around pets, pedestrians or other obstacles.
That’s pretty much exactly the same policies that Amazon used for its trials in Washington. According to the retail juggernaut, Scout deliveries will be seamlessly integrated into orders for customers in Irvine.
If you live in Irvine, and it lines up logistically, your package may be delivered by a Scout robot. On the other hand, your package could still end up getting delivered through normal means.
Amazon is currently in the midst of testing several new ways to deliver packages. The company has been training and testing its Scout platform for months, even going so far as to use digital simulations of cities created through satellite mapping data and 3D renders.
It’s also testing delivery via drone through its Prime Air program. The flagship of that program is a hybrid drone aircraft that can take off and land vertically but is still capable of flying like a normal plane.
Back in June, Amazon said it would launch an aerial drone delivery service “in the coming months,” but did not detail where or when the program would start.
More than anything else, the expansion of the test program suggests that Apple’s existing trials in Washington have been somewhat successful. Though, it’s worth noting that all of Amazon’s autonomous delivery programs are still in their early stages.
To be clear, Amazon isn’t going to replace its human delivery drivers with robots overnight, but there’s a good chance that one of your packages could get delivered by drone or robot in the near future.