Robotic muscle helping Amazon this holiday season

Network World | Dec 3, 2014

Across the US, 10 fulfillment centers will use robots and computer vision to help with online orders.

Robotic muscle helping Amazon this holiday season

Amazon is employing some robotic muscle to help it cope with the holiday rush of online shopping. Across the US, 10 fulfillment centers will use robots and computer vision to help with online orders.

15,000 of these Kiva robots can transport large vertical racks of inventory. Amazon acquired Kiva Systems in September 2012 and has been adding robots to its warehouses to improve efficiency.

The company also deployed an inventory-moving robotic arm it calls Robo Stow. From Japan the robot is billed as the strongest of its kind in the world. It can lift 12-hundred kilograms…that's enough to move car bodies around factories.

The online retail giant is also using new computer vision systems that can help unload a trailer of inventory in 30 minutes, compared to hours without.

While the robots might be able to help improve efficiency, they're not able to replace humans altogether. Amazon will still hire 80,000 seasonal employees to help with holidays.

In San Francisco, Nick Barber, IDG News Service.