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HomeAi and RoboticsIntroducing Amazon's Latest Innovations: Enhanced Warehouse Robot and Advanced Drone

Introducing Amazon’s Latest Innovations: Enhanced Warehouse Robot and Advanced Drone



Credit: Amazon

Amazon has recently started testing a bipedal robot at its BFI1 experimental facility in Sumner, Washington. Named Digit, this robot has two arms, two legs, a blue chest, and two square lights for eyes. It has the ability to move forward and backward, turn around, bend, and reach, grab, and lift Amazon’s yellow totes that hold items in their warehouses. Digit will assist human workers by recycling totes, picking up and moving empty ones once all items are removed. However, Digit is still in the early stages of development, so it will be a while before it is operational on warehouse floors.

This announcement was made at Amazon’s Delivering the Future event held at its BFI1 warehouse. During the event, Amazon also revealed plans to deliver medications via drone in select cities and expand its Prime Air drone delivery project to Italy and the United Kingdom in 2024. Additionally, Amazon showcased a new robotic system in Houston that uses robotic arms to pick totes filled with items, improving worker safety by reducing tasks that require reaching above their heads or squatting.

Amazon partnered with Agility Robotics to develop Digit, as it specializes in logistics and warehouse environments. To address concerns about the robot’s humanlike appearance, Amazon will gather feedback during testing. This move is part of Amazon’s continuous efforts to enhance worker safety and improve its logistics processes.

Another initiative introduced by Amazon is the Sequoia system, which aims to change the way items are containerized and moved within its warehouses. Rather than using yellow storage racks with cubbies for employees to pack or retrieve items, Sequoia utilizes storage racks filled with totes. Robotic arms will fetch totes from the racks and place them at employees’ workstations, reducing the need for employees to reach or bend for items. The Sequoia system is expected to enhance worker safety and minimize musculoskeletal injuries caused by repetitive motions.

While Amazon has invested in automation and robotics to improve worker safety, it still faces scrutiny from workplace regulators regarding safety conditions at its warehouses. The company claims that its use of robotics has led to lower incident rates at Amazon Robotics sites compared to non-robotic sites. However, investigations and trials are ongoing to determine if further changes are required.

In terms of drone delivery, Amazon plans to expand its Prime Air project to more locations, including Italy, the United Kingdom, and an undisclosed location in the U.S. The goal is to provide customers with faster deliveries and integrate drone deliveries with same-day delivery facilities. Amazon is also exploring ways to deliver packages to apartment buildings and recently launched a drone delivery service for medications in College Station, Texas.

Amazon reassures the public that it prioritizes safety in its drone operations, comparing its standards to those of commercial aerospace manufacturers. Specifically, Prime Air undergoes rigorous assessments by aerospace regulators to ensure it meets safety requirements. As Prime Air expands to new locations, an updated model of the drone will be deployed.

Overall, Amazon continues to innovate and develop new technologies to enhance its operations, improve worker safety, and provide efficient delivery services to its customers.

Leah Sirama
Leah Sirama
Leah Sirama, a lifelong enthusiast of Artificial Intelligence, has been exploring technology and the digital realm since childhood. Known for his creative thinking, he's dedicated to improving AI experiences for all, making him a respected figure in the field. His passion, curiosity, and creativity drive advancements in the AI world.
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