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Report – Rise of the robots at Amazon


Seattle – The robots are coming to According to the Associated Press, the online giant has deployed more than 15,000 wheeled robots in its distribution centers. The robots help bring items off shelves and out of bins to human employees for faster picking and packing.

Amazon developed the robots in-house after buying robot manufacturer Kiva Systems in 2012. They navigate warehouses by scanning coded stickers on the floor, which deliver digital directions from a centralized database. The robots can lift up to a stack of four barcoded shelves and 750 pounds of merchandise, allowing Amazon to fit more goods in its warehouses without adding space.

Amazon estimates the robots allow it to pick items two to three times faster than by its previous manual process, although the company says it won’t cut distribution center staff. Analyst firm Jaffrey Capital Markets estimated that a fleet of 10,000 robots could help Amazon save $450 million to $900 million in distribution costs annually.

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