Amazon is developing robots that can pick items from inventory in fulfillment centers, according to a new report. These robots will allegedly perform the same job as human “pickers,” retrieving items ordered by customers and moving them to packaging for shipment. The report indicates these robots may eventually replace many human warehouse workers.
The alleged plans were leaked by sources speaking to The Information, which says Amazon has one robot that can use a suction tool to retrieve items off a conveyor belt. This wouldn’t be the first time Amazon has toyed with robots for its fulfillment warehouses — it already has them in a small percentage of its centers.
That said, Amazon isn’t ready to replace all of its human workers quite yet. In a statement provided to The Information, Amazon Robotics Vice President Brad Porter explained that the technology isn’t sophisticated enough at this point in time. Humans, unlike robots, can deal with a wider range of issues and catch problems with products before they’re shipped, for example.
As well, robots aren’t yet technologically advanced enough to handle the wide range of products Amazon houses and ships. The company indicates that it is exploring robotics as a way to complement human workers, potentially introducing technologies that take over certain tasks.
Still, such a report does little to ease fears about machines and their potential to take away jobs from humans. Amazon recently made the news for raising its workers’ wages to $15/hour minimum, but many have wondered how long the company will continue to require these humans.
SOURCE: The Information