Technology innovation is nothing new to Amazon, and the company is now in the news for introducing Digit, the first humanoid robot created with the intention of streamlining warehouse operations. At Amazon facilities, this two-legged wonder—which has the ability to grasp and hoist objects—is being tested. Its first assignment is moving empty tote boxes. Although this represents a major advancement in Amazon’s continuous effort to automate its processes, worries regarding the effects on its enormous workforce—which already numbers close to 1.5 million—are also raised by this development.
At a recent media presentation in Seattle, Tye Brady, the Chief Technologist at Amazon Robotics, stressed that the introduction of robots like Digit will not result in job losses, but rather in the creation of new roles. He wants to automate “menial, mundane, and repetitive” duties at Amazon so that human workers may concentrate on higher-order thinking and problem-solving. He made a point of saying that having a completely automated warehouse is not a realistic objective and that employees are essential to Amazon’s operations.
Digit, developed by Agility Robotics and supported by Amazon, is a 5ft 9in, 143lb robot capable of versatile movements, including walking forwards, backwards, sideways, and crouching. It can also carry up to 35lb of cargo. Amazon envisions using Digit in various novel ways within their warehouses, beginning with tote recycling—a repetitive task that can be monotonous for human workers.
Notably, Ford was the first purchaser of Digit robots, marking its potential for broader industrial applications. Agility Robotics secured an investment from Amazon’s Industrial Innovation Fund, solidifying the e-commerce giant’s commitment to advancing automation in its operations.
Additionally, at the same event, Amazon announced the deployment of a robotic system called Sequoia in one of its Houston warehouses. This system aims to accelerate order processing and improve inventory management, potentially reducing order processing times by up to 25%.
Amazon’s approach to automation centers on the collaboration between humans and robots, where humans remain the focus and the driving force of their workforce. Digit and Sequoia are tools designed to enhance efficiency and reduce the burden of repetitive tasks, ensuring Amazon’s commitment to its employees’ central role in its operations.
In summary, the introduction of Digit and other automation initiatives at Amazon exemplify the company’s dedication to enhancing efficiency while maintaining its substantial human workforce. The future of warehousing involves humans working alongside robots, leveraging technology to improve operations and provide a better customer experience.