Amazon offers a robotic arm that can perform repetitive storage tasks

Amazon offers a robotic arm that can perform repetitive storage tasks

An Amazon Sparrow package handles a robot during the Deliver the Future event at the Amazon Robotics Innovation Hub in Westboro, Massachusetts, US, on Thursday, November 10, 2022.

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Amazon On Thursday, it showed off a new robot that could one day help warehouse workers with some of the more tedious aspects of the job.

The company unveiled “Sparrow,” a robotic arm that can grab millions of items of various shapes and sizes, onstage at the Deliver the Future conference near Boston, showcasing new technologies for robotics, transportation and delivery.

Amazon says Sparrow uses computer vision and artificial intelligence to move products around before they are packaged. Video of Sparrow shows the robotic arm picking up a board game, a bottle of vitamins and a stack of papers — all sorts of items that might be pouring through one of the company’s warehouses — and deftly placing them into boxes.

Suction cups mounted on the surface of the robot allow items to be firmly gripped. Previous iterations of robotic arms have been able to grab boxes, which are generally uniform in shape but may vary in size. The Sparrow is capable of manipulating items of varying curvature and size, Jason Messinger, principal technical product manager for robotic manipulation at Amazon Robotics, said in a demonstration.

“This is not just about picking and moving the same things with great precision, which we’ve seen in previous robots,” Messinger said.

The company said the robotic arm can identify about 65% of Amazon’s product inventory.

While the introduction of robots into a warehouse often raises questions about whether it will replace human jobs, Amazon says Sparrow will take on repetitive tasks, allowing employees to focus on other things.

The company also said the technology could improve safety in the workplace, although this possibility has been mooted. investigation by Disclosure from the Center for Journalistic Investigations It found that company warehouses with robots had higher infection rates than facilities without automation.

Amazon has steadily added to its fleet of warehouse robots since then acquired Kiva Systems for $775 million a decade ago. Kiva evolved into Amazon Roboticsthe company’s internal incubator for robotic execution systems.

Amazon Hercules robots are tested during the Deliver the Future event at the Amazon Robotics Innovation Hub in Westboro, Massachusetts, US, on Thursday, November 10, 2022.

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By adding more automation to its fulfillment centers, Amazon can reduce its reliance on front-line workers to handle picking, packing, and shipping of items in its warehouse. This insight is more important than ever as the company, which is the second largest employer in the United States after Wal-Mart, may run out of workers to hire in the country by 2024, Recode mentioned.

The company said Thursday that about 75% of the 5 billion packages Amazon handles annually are handled by bots in at least one part of the delivery process.

Amazon in June a statement The first fully autonomous robot that can work alongside warehouse workers, as well as other systems that can sort and move packages. He. She earned too Cloostermans, which develops warehouse machines and robots.

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