Amazon’s new robotic tech set to make work easier, safer for employees

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Amazon recently revealed a showcase of new robot it has been working on. Amazon also revealed that the company currently has over 5,20,000 robotic drive units, which work hand-in-hand with employees to make the workplaces safer and more efficient than ever. Robotics like the Proteus and the Cardinal are the latest tech Amazon has been working on and investing in. Here’s all you need to know about them.

Proteus

A fully autonomous mobile robot, the Proteus is capable of automatically moving through Amazon facilities using “advanced safety, perception and navigation technology developed by Amazon.” The robot was designed to be used around employees and hence, doesn’t have to be confined to enclosed areas. This allows the Proteus to operate safely along with employees to open up a bigger range of possibilities, including the moving around the GoCarts that are used to move packages through the facility.

“Proteus will initially be deployed in the outbound GoCart handling areas in our fulfilment centres and sort centres,” Amazon said in a blog post. “Our vision is to automate GoCart handling throughout the network, which will help reduce the need for people to manually move heavy objects through our facility and instead let them focus on more rewarding work,” the company added.

Cardinal

The Cardinal robot is capable of using advanced artificial intelligence to select a particular package from a pile, lift it and read the label, before precisely placing it on a GoCart to send the package on the next step of its journey. Amazon says the robot reduces the risk of employees injuring themselves accidentally while dealing with the lifting and turning of large and heavy packages in a confined space. The Cardinal is also faster at sorting packages, which contributes to a faster processing time of packages inside the facility before they leave for their respective delivery addresses.

Currently, in testing for handling packages of up to 50 pounds, the Cardinal is expected to be implemented in fulfilment centres next year.

Amazon Robotics Identification

Amazon’s third innovation is the Amazon Robotics Identification, or AR-ID, a scanning capability powered by AR that can use machine learning and computer vision to enable better, more convenient scanning of packages in our facilities.

Amazon’s tracking system that allows users to track their goods through each part of the shipment process is dependent on scanning at each checkpoint. The AR-ID makes this step easier as with it, all employees need to do is pick up a package in front of a scanner and place it in the next container.

The AR-ID runs at 120 frames per second and automatically captures the product’s unique code and scans it, eliminating the need for employees to manually find the bar code and scan it with one hand while holding the package with the other.

Containerised Storage System

Amazon also revealed a new robotic system that eliminates the need for employees to reach up, bend down or climb ladders when retrieving items. This is possible thanks to the new containerised storage system.

Amazon claims the system is capable of determining which particular pod has a particular container. The system can then locate the pod, grab it and pull it out and give it to an employee. This is possible through what Amazon calls “a highly choreographed dance of robotics and software.”





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