Today, Amazon introduced its newest innovation that could be the ultimate game changer in the world of supply chain and logistics: Sparrow, an autonomous robotic arm that can handle repetitive warehouse tasks faster and more accurately than any human employee. Sparrow’s first use? Helping Amazon sort and ship orders much faster than ever before. Although Amazon has yet to release the details on how the robot works, it’s easy to see how Sparrow could revolutionize the e-commerce industry and change our day-to-day lives as well.
On Thursday, Amazon unveiled a brand-new robot that may one day help warehouse workers with some of the most laborious facets of their jobs.
At the Delivering the Future conference near Boston, the business presented “Sparrow,” a robotic arm that can pick up millions of objects of all sizes and shapes. The conference also featured new robotics, transportation, and last-mile delivery technology.
Before things are packed, Sparrow reportedly moves them using artificial intelligence and computer vision. At a video showcasing Sparrow, the robotic arm is seen skillfully picking up goods like a board game, a bottle of vitamins, and a set of sheets that might be found in one of the company’s warehouses.
The robot’s surface is equipped with suction cups that allow it to firmly grab objects. Robotic arms have been used in the past to pick up boxes, which are typically consistent in shape but may vary in size. However, Jason Messinger, lead technical product manager of robotic manipulation at Amazon Robotics, demonstrated how Sparrow could handle objects of various sizes and radii of curvature.
As opposed to earlier robots, this one can move objects precisely while picking them up, according to Messinger.
According to the manufacturer, the robotic arm can recognise around 65% of Amazon’s product catalogue.
While it’s common for people to wonder if human employment would be supplanted by robots when they’re introduced to the warehouse, Amazon believes Sparrow will “take on repetitious duties,” allowing up workers to concentrate on other things.
The technology, according to the business, can also increase worker safety, however this claim has been disputed. The Center for Investigative Reporting’s Reveal programme conducted a study that revealed the company’s robot-equipped warehouses have greater injury rates than those of comparable facilities.
Since purchasing Kiva Systems for $775 million ten years ago, Amazon has steadily increased the number of warehouse robots in its fleet. Kiva changed into Amazon Robotics, the business’s internal research and development centre for robotic fulfilment systems.
Amazon might lessen its reliance on front-line employees to do the picking, packaging, and shipping of products in its warehouses by increasing automation in its fulfilment centres. The corporation, which is the second-largest employer in the United States after Walmart, may run out of candidates to hire in the nation by 2024, according to Recode, making that ambition more important than ever.
According to the company’s announcement on Thursday, robots handle about 75% of the 5 billion packages it processes annually in at least one aspect of the delivery process.
Along with other systems that can sort and move packages, Amazon unveiled its first fully autonomous robot in June that can work alongside warehouse workers. It also purchased Cloostermans, a company that creates robotics and machinery for warehouses.