How AI and robotics serve Amazon’s employees and customers
“Developing collaborative technology is at the heart of everything our teams do. Technology can serve its best purpose when it’s human-centric and able to work seamlessly to support employees as they deliver on our customer promise.”Joseph Quinlivan, VP of Fulfillment Technologies and Robotics at Amazon
Amazon’s human-centered approach to technology
Amazon’s commitment to a human-centric approach to technology is evident in the way they’ve incorporated AI and robotics in their operations. The latest collaborative robotics work alongside humans safely, with the help of computer vision and machine learning. This tech lineup includes the first autonomous mobile robot, Proteus, new robotic handling systems Cardinal and Sparrow, and a new approach to inventory management called Containerized Storage.
Amazon’s robotic handling systems
In 2022 alone, Amazon sorted 1 billion packages or one-eighth of all the orders delivered worldwide, with Robin, one of its robotic handling systems. As the world’s largest manufacturer of industrial robots, Amazon has over 750,000 mobile robots deployed across their worldwide operations.
Testing technologies in the field
New robotics systems are tested at various Amazon sites, in a practical and unique approach. Each robot begins its testing phase in a small process path at a specific facility, working alongside employees. As the technology proves its efficiency, it is introduced to more process paths and eventually to other facilities, enabling optimization of sites for safety and efficiency.
Case Study: Proteus and Cardinal
One notable example is the testing of Proteus and Cardinal in a fulfillment center near Nashville, Tennessee. Proteus autonomously drives carts loaded with packages by Cardinal to delivery trucks, efficiently operating alongside employees.
Case Study: Sparrow
In San Marcos, Texas, Sparrow, Amazon’s latest robotic handling system, is already handling hundreds of thousands of customer orders, taking over highly repetitive tasks. The system leverages the latest advances in computer vision, machine learning, and AI.
Future plans: Containerized Storage
Containerized Storage, currently under testing in Houston, Texas, aims to increase employee safety at pick and stow workstations while creating sustainable benefits for businesses that sell their goods on Amazon.
As Amazon continues to optimize these technologies and scale new robotics across their operations network, the company anticipates these innovations will further benefit employees and drive efficiencies, enabling them to offer better prices, greater selection, and increased convenience for customers.