Amazon is trialling humanoid robots in its U.S. warehouses as part of efforts to free up employees up to better deliver for our customers.
Amazon said it has started testing Digit, a two-legged robot that can grasp and lift items, at facilities. The device is first being used to shift empty tote boxes.
Tye Brady, the chief technologist at Amazon Robotics, claimed that although it will render some jobs redundant the deployment of robots would create new ones. The union has kicked against this, saying that Amazon’s automation is a “head-first race to job losses” and that it has already seen hundreds of jobs disappear to robots in fulfilment centres.
Amazon insists that its robotics systems have in fact helped create “hundred of thousands of new jobs” within its operations, including 700 categories of new job types in skilled roles. The company now has more than 750,000 robots working “collaboratively” with its human staff, often being used to take on “highly repetitive tasks”.
Digit is different from other Amazon robots because it walks on two legs rather than using wheels. This allows it to “deal with steps and stairs or places in our facility where we need to move up and down,” according to Scott Dresser of Amazon Robotics.
Mr Dresser said the robot was a prototype and the trial was about seeing whether it could work safely with human employees. He also suggested that the fears over human jobs being replaced didn’t match what had happened at Amazon.
The sources for this piece include an article in BBC.