Amazon relies on the first fully autonomous robot and further automation

Amazon intends to further automate its shipping and warehouse operations. The online mail order company announced Wednesday. The first fully autonomous robot Proteus will also be used, which does its job independently and can safely move around its environment without endangering its human colleagues. The Cardinal parcel robot, AI-controlled scanning technology and a system for more ergonomic item removal should also ensure greater safety and support for employees.

If robots have to move together with humans in dynamic environments, safety aspects are the top priority to avoid accidents. Amazon developed the fully autonomous mobile robot Proteus through its robot subsidiary Amazon Robotics (formerly Kiva Systems). In the future, it will help and automate Amazon facilities such as fulfillment centers and sorting facilities, for example when lifting and transporting so-called GoCarts, non-automated parcel transport cages. Employees would no longer have to manually move heavy bins and, according to Amazon, could “focus on more useful tasks.”

Proteus automates GoCart management.

Proteus receives instructions on where to get a GoCart. The robot then does the rest independently by moving under the transport cage, lifting it and guiding it to its destination and placing it there. According to Amazon, it’s not limited to specific security areas. Its safety, perception and navigational ability allow it to move among humans without compromising their safety. If the battery is low, it makes its own way to a charging station.

The Cardinal handling robot is also intended to relieve employees when handling packages weighing up to 22.7 kg. The risk of employee injury is particularly high during rotational movements, writes Amazon. With the help of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine vision, Cardinal can take packages from a stack, read the label and load them into a GoCart. It even works in a small space, as a video shows.

The GoCart is then transported further by Proteus. Under Amazon’s plan, both robots are expected to automate GoCart management across the network, speed up parcel sorting and processing times, and make shipping processes smoother.

The cardinal moves heavy packages, Proteus takes care of the transport.

But this is still the music of the future. Because so far Amazon is only testing one prototype of the Cardinal. It is expected to be used in fulfillment centers in 2023.

Parcel tracking at Amazon facilities is done via scans. This ensures that the location of a package can be traced at any time. Scanning is still done manually in fulfillment centers. Employees have to take a package from a container and manually scan it with a handheld scanner.

The AR ID automatically scans packages as they are placed on a shelf.

Amazon wants to simplify and speed up this process. Amazon Robotics identification (AR ID) should help with this. The AI-supported system uses computer vision to locate and scan barcodes. The employees then only need to turn the package so that the camera system used, which is capable of acquiring 120 images per second, sees the barcode. Amazon says this minimizes the risk of employee injury. You can now hold and move the packages with both hands instead of one hand because there is no hand scanner.

Employees should also be relieved when removing products from containers. A containerized storage system should help. For this purpose, the containers are sorted by robots and brought to the employees. It is no longer necessary to reach a shelf with containers and bend or stretch.

Robots pre-order containers so workers can access products more easily.

Amazon points out that robots are not used to replace employees. Instead, systems should be made safer for people and work processes should be more ergonomic. There is also an acceleration of the liquidation process.


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