Home Robotics Amazon’s robots demonstrate why it’s too early for people to worry about warehouse jobs

Amazon’s robots demonstrate why it’s too early for people to worry about warehouse jobs

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Amazon's robots demonstrate why it's too early for people to worry about warehouse jobs
Amazon’s autonomous robots are doing a great job of finding ordered items anywhere in the company’s huge warehouses, but taking items off the shelf is still a much more difficult task for them. So in the interest of improving automation in Amazon warehouses. organized a "Picking Challenge" competition and invited participants to assemble robots that would do a better job of similar work done by humans to date. The results were impressive, but at the same time showed that Amazon workers shouldn’t be afraid of robots just yet
The robots were supposed to shoot from one Of Amazon’s stock shelves. items of daily consumption and placing them on a nearby table. Among the test items were a box of cookies, tennis balls, a pencil holder, a rubber duck and, of course, books. Participants received points for transporting items seamlessly and lost points if the robot dropped/damaged something or failed in any other way. The winning team, the RBO, managed to lift 10 of the 12 items in 20 minutes, which was enough to take the $20, 000 prize money back to Berlin Technical University.

Robots have a harder time lifting rubber ducks than humans

The winning robot was equipped with various sensors that improved its performance, including one to recognize objects, one to analyze the position of the object in relation to the shelf, and another to monitor the force with which the arm grips objects.
Other robots used lasers, clamps, vacuum suction cups, and other ways to handle the Amazon shopping list. But even the first-place robot had trouble dealing with small and reflective objects, and all the machines ran at a snail’s pace when compared to humans. The video above is accelerated by a factor of four, but it still shows how far behind normal workers are. Still, it’s interesting to watch these things analyze what’s in front of them and take a better approach. The RBO team has created what might be called the world’s smartest vacuum cleaner.
Amazon has also made it clear that the company is not going to cut thousands of workers and hand over their duties to robots.

We already use more than 15, 000 robots in our centers, working side by side with our employees, " says a spokesperson for the commercial giant. – Such technology improves workflow for employees, increasing efficiency. Of course, the human role is still vital.

Some participants have suggested that Amazon should increase the prize money much more if the company wants to see truly revolutionary results.

If you want strong teams to participate, you have to invest more, says Alberto Rodriguez of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. – The money should probably be 10 times as much.

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