Digit Robot, Image/Amazon
Although Amazon now has over 750,000 robots working in unison with employees and performing highly repetitive tasks, a new Amazon robotic system named Sequoia has been developed to help fulfill customer orders for upcoming holiday shopping.
Sequoia reinvents how products are stored, managed and processed at Amazon sites:
Sequoia allows us to identify and store inventory we receive at our fulfillment centers up to 75% faster than we can today. This means we can list items for sale on Amazon.com more quickly, benefiting both sellers and customers. When orders are placed, Sequoia also reduces the time it takes to process an order through a fulfillment center by up to 25%, which improves our shipping predictability and increases the number of goods we can offer for Same-Day or Next-Day shipping.
Sequoia uses multiple robot systems to relegate inventory into totes, combining mobile robots, gantry systems, robotic arms, and a new ergonomic employee workstation.
Amazon mobile manipulator solutions are currently being tested at a robotics research and development site south of Seattle. Mobile robots are capable of moving around while simultaneously handling items.
Another Amazon robotic working marvel is Digit, a bipedal robot used for automation purposes. In partnership with Agility Robotics, Digit is a multipurpose robot ready for work:
Digit can move, grasp, and handle items in spaces and corners of warehouses in novel ways. Its size and shape are well suited for buildings that are designed for humans, and we believe that there is a big opportunity to scale a mobile manipulator solution, such as Digit, which can work collaboratively with employees.
Amazon apparently is quelling worries about employee concerns about working with robots with this statement:
Ensuring robotics are collaborative and support employees is central to how we design or deploy systems like Sequoia and Digit. Over the last 10 years, we’ve rolled out hundreds of thousands of robotics systems while also creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs within our operations. This includes 700 categories of new job types, in skilled roles, which didn’t exist within the company beforehand.