Amazon Introduces First Fully Autonomous Mobile Robot

Amazon has announced its “first fully autonomous mobile robot,” meant to move large carts throughout its warehouses. The robot is called Proteus, and Amazon says it can safely navigate around human employees, unlike some of its past robots that it kept separated in a caged area. As is often the case with new robot technology, there are potential labor concerns. Amazon says Proteus robots have “advanced safety, perception, and navigation technology,” and a (strangely silent) video shows the robots shining a green light in front of themselves as they move around. Amazon’s CEO recently promised to systemically address the injury rates at the company’s warehouses, though he has minimized reports that its workers are hurt at double the industry rate by calling the company’s rates “misunderstood.” The company has also announced several other robotic systems. Despite recent reports that Amazon could soon struggle to find workers, the company says it’s not looking to build robots instead of hiring people. Cardinal operates in places where workers would otherwise lift and twist heavy packages, a movement that can lead to injuries, and Proteus could “reduce the need for people to manually move heavy objects.” The company’s also working on a robot that would deliver containers to workers rather than having them bend or climb to reach items. (The Verge). Continue reading.



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