Industrial robots are nothing new, but they are getting more and more sophisticated. Watch the video above of the swarming robot warehouse pickers made by Kiva Systems. They are like orange industrial Roombas that go out and find inventory in a warehouse and bring it back to human workers to pack for shipping. Don’t fear them. Really, they are just here to help.
Zappos and Staples use the systems, which are dispatched and controlled by a central computer, and can also detect each other to avoid collisions.
Speaking of Roombas, Kiva Systems might soon have competition from MIT Robotics professor and iRobot co-founder Rodney Brooks. (iRobot manufactures the Roomba robot vacuum). Brooks recently got $7 million in funding from Jeff Bezos and others for his latest venture, Heartland Robotics. The company is still in stealth, but its homepage hints at what it is working on:
Heartland Robotics is combining the power of computers – embodied in robots – and the extraordinary intelligence of the American workforce, to increase productivity and revitalize manufacturing.
They sound so friendly!
When are they going to create a blogging robot so I can take day off?