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How Amazon’s 10 years of Robotics improved employee and customer experience

From Kiva to fully autonomous mobile robots, Amazon robots are being used in various applications for 10 years. These are being developed continues and implemented for various applications. Amazon has been investing to improve its productivity in employee and customer experience.

Look back on 10 years of Amazon robotics

Image credits- About Amazon

Back in 2012, the company made its first investment in Kiva, focusing on supply chain productivity. The robotics company Kiva was a big bet for Amazon, predicting the possible advancement in automation. It means innovation to help meet its customer needs for safer, simple, and productive employees. The investment changed things for Amazon, transforming its business model.

More than 520,000 robotic drive units were added so far to the company. Around a million jobs were created because of this change. Unlike typical speculation that robots would replace people’s jobs. There are more than a dozen types of robotic systems now for Amazon. Their facilities all around the world are filled with these robots. Though the company wouldn’t have thought such progression would have been possible with the acquisition of Kiva. The vision is focused on safer technology and a working environment. Now it isn’t just Kiva, but other technologies as well. The company continued to innovate and various areas. Customers also have better experiences because of the changes.

First fully autonomous robot

Proteus is our first fully autonomous mobile robot. Historically, it’s been difficult to safely incorporate robotics in the same physical space as people. We believe Proteus will change that while remaining smart, safe, and collaborative.

Proteus autonomously moves through our facilities using advanced safety, perception, and navigation technology developed by Amazon. The robot was built to be automatically directed to perform its work and move around employees—meaning it has no need to be confined to restricted areas. It can operate in a manner that augments simple, safe interaction between technology and people—opening up a broader range of possible uses to help our employees—such as the lifting and movement of GoCarts, the non-automated, wheeled transports used to move packages through our facilities.

Feedback from employees led them to create Amazon Robotics Identification (AR ID). An AI-powered scanning capability with innovative computer vision and machine learning technology to enable easier scanning of packages in our facilities. Currently, all packages in its facilities are scanned at each destination on their journey. In fulfillment centers, this scanning is currently manual—an item arrives at a workstation, the package is picked from a bin by an employee, and using a hand scanner, the employee finds the bar code and hand-scans the item.

Other innovations

Other innovations include containerization products that have improved safety in the workplace. In many Amazon fulfillment centers, employees currently pick or stow items onto mobile shelves as products move through the process of fulfilling customer orders. To reduce the need for employees to reach up, bend down, or climb ladders when retrieving items, we’ve been developing a robotic system that delivers products to employees in a more ergonomically friendly manner.

Ten years have flown by, but the one constant has been its drive to improve the experience for its employees and customers. What started as an interesting acquisition has grown into a dedicated team of roboticists, engineers, software developers, ergonomic specialists, and other experts who have revolutionized our operations. As stated by Amazon’s staff.

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