Amazon is seeking to automate its warehouse procedures and is currently experimenting with a humanoid robot. Digit is a two-legged robot that can grasp and lift items and is being used to shift empty tote boxes at the moment.
Digit however has understandably caused fear among Amazon’s 1.5 million employees. Chief technologist at Amazon Robotics, Tye Brady says that although robots will render some jobs obsolete, it will still create new ones.
He spoke to reporters last month saying that he didn’t think a fully automated warehouse would be something that would be happening anytime soon.
“There’s not any part of me that thinks that would ever be a reality. People are so central to the fulfillment process: the ability to think at a higher level, and the ability to diagnose problems.
“We will always need people… I’ve never been around an automated system that works 100% of the time. I don’t think you have as well.”
Amazon employees Fear Robots
He said that the goal is merely to “eliminate all the menial, mundane and repetitive tasks”.
Digit was developed by Agility Robotics, a startup based in Corvallis, Oregon. The robot can walk forwards, backwards and sideways and can crouch down as well. It measures 175cm in height and weighs 65kg. It can lift a maximum of 16kg.
Amazon says it plans to put Digit to work in spaces and corners of warehouses in novel ways.
“Our initial use for this technology will be to help employees with tote recycling, a highly repetitive process of picking up and moving empty totes once inventory has been completely picked out of them.”
“When we do our job really, really well, our robotic systems just kind of blend into the background to become ubiquitous, You don’t talk about your dishwasher too much in your kitchen. It’s an amazing robot. It’s such a great robot that I don’t even call it a robot,” said Brady.
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