Amazon is serious about robotics. For most other companies, the technology may still feel like some distant novelty, but the e-commerce giant has already begun to deploy robotics systems en masse. Robotics VP Brad Porter noted onstage today at the re:MARS conference in Las Vegas that the company has deployed 200,000 robotics drives globally.
Earlier this year, it noted that it had more than 100,000 robotics systems deployed across roughly 25 fulfillment centers here in the States, a number that includes both its own homegrown systems and third-parties. We captured both on a recent trip to the company’s massive Staten Island fulfillment center, though Amazon’s own Kiva-based systems clearly form the heart of the operation.
This morning, Amazon announced a pair of new robots, Xanthus and Pegasus. It noted at the event that it already has 800 of the latter, a warehouse package-delivery robot, deployed in U.S. fulfillment centers.
Porter attempted to nip in the bud any questions about job loss. “While these robots provide a critical function in our buildings, we are not automating away all the work,” he told the crowd. “In that same time frame, we have added over 300,000 full time jobs around the world.”
Amazon notes that its robotic palletizers have stacked more than two billion totes. But the company is clearly looking to push things even further as it works to make one-day delivery standard for Prime users. Such a move will no doubt have an impact on warehouse workers who have already been under strain from current working conditions. As it fields negative press around these sorts of jobs, Amazon is clearly looking to use robotics to help alleviate some of the burden.