Amazon's new warehouse robot could one day replace humans

Amazon’s new warehouse robot could one day replace humans

Developed by Amazon.com Inc. A bot capable of identifying and manipulating individual items…

Amazon.com has developed a bot capable of identifying and handling individual items, a milestone in the e-commerce giant’s efforts to reduce its reliance on human order collectors who currently play a key role in moving products from warehouse shelves to customers. thresholds.

The robotic arm, tilted by a set of retractable suction devices, is called the Sparrow. At Thursday’s demonstrations, the machine independently extracted objects of different sizes and textures from a plastic bag and placed them in other containers. Amazon said the robot is capable of handling millions of different products.

Automating such tasks may seem simple, but it has puzzled Amazon robotics for years. The machines at the company’s facilities have tall lifting platforms, tightly packed racks and shuttle bundles on conveyor belts. But Amazon also employs hundreds of thousands of warehouse workers, whose ingenuity and intuition currently allow them to pick and pack items faster and more reliably than existing machines.

“You might think this is gradual, but it’s not,” said Joe Quinlivan, vice president. World Health Organization honored difference Working on robotics and implementation technologies, at a press event the device was unveiled. “It’s a huge leap in the technological challenge, the development of technology.” Quinlivan said is the most challenging Careers On Amazon are repetitive motion jobs, and some Robot It might lead someday.

If deployed on a large scale, bots like Sparrow could eventually render large parts of Amazon’s workforce unnecessary, shifting the focus from employees performing simple tasks that require little training, to a smaller cadre of technicians overseeing systems robotic and maintained. Amazon is the second largest private employer in the Middle East we Behind Wal-Mart, it has 1.54 million workers worldwide.

Amazon has for years been criticized for pushing its workers aggressively in a relentless attempt to get packages to customers quickly. Warehouse injuries are outpacing Amazon’s logistics peers, calling for scrutiny from workplace regulators looking to ensure the company doesn’t put employees at risk. Groups seeking to establish unions in these facilities are also lobbying for better safety and working conditions, along with higher wages.

“By working with our employees, Sparrow will take on repetitive tasks, enabling our employees to focus their time and energy on other things, while also enhancing safety,” the company said in a blog post. “At the same time, Sparrow will help us boost efficiency by automating an important part of our fulfillment process so we can continue to deliver to customers.”

It wasn’t immediately clear how quickly or how quickly Sparrow would spread. Using the bot may require redesigning the main Amazon repositories, which are called fulfillment centers. They currently store most types of products on mesh shelves that are potentially incompatible with robotic arms like the Sparrow.

Amazon It has always aspired to automate its repositories mostly. But the company was sensitive to the perception that it was planning to cut jobs. During a media event at Amazon’s robotics research and manufacturing facility outside Boston, executives focused on the new types of roles that automated facilities increasingly require and said many frontline workers will be retrained for these higher-skill jobs.

In another step toward automation for faster and more efficient delivery, Amazon also unveiled a new drone on Thursday. The model, called the MK30, is smaller than previous Amazon test models, makes less noise and can fly through light rain. This vehicle is the latest effort in founder Jeff Bezos’ vision to deploy self-driving drones that can deliver a package weighing less than 5 pounds 30 minutes after a customer places an order. Besides speeding up delivery times, drones can drastically reduce the cost of delivery that still often requires a person to drive a car to someone’s home.

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