While delivery drones may still be a thing of the (near) future, Amazon has installed more than 15,000 robotic helpers across 10 of their U.S. fulfillment centers just in time for the Cyber Monday rush. The orange 320-pound bots from Kiva Systems are designed to expedite delivery time to customers while competing with brick-and-mortar stores.
These robots, which navigate across the warehouse floors on wheels, utilize vision systems to enable the unloading and receipt of an entire trailer of inventory in as little as 30 minutes — which pales in comparison to the hours of work by man. In addition, Amazon said its centers will be equipped with Robo-Stow, a gigantic robotic arm that shifts inventory, while employees will use high-end graphically oriented computer systems to fulfill customer orders in an effort to accelerate the process.
In fact, the robots have allowed Amazon to get packages out the door in as little as 13 minutes, compared to about an hour and a half on average in the non-futuristic facilities.
“The Amazon fulfillment teams are dedicated to innovating in our fulfillment centers to increase speed of delivery while enabling greater local selection at lower costs for our customers. The advancements in our latest fulfillment centers hit all three of these customer desires while continuing to provide a work environment that is great for employees,” said Dave Clark, Amazon’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Operations and Customer Service.
As Reuters notes, Amazon deployed the robots earlier this summer, ahead of the holiday quarter, when the company typically books about one-third of its annual revenue. The updated fulfillment centers are in five states — California, Texas, Florida, New Jersey and Washington.