Amazon’s Joe Quinlivan discusses how building a robot army fueled its e-commerce dominance at TC Sessions: Robotics 2022

There’s an 800-pound gorilla in the warehouse, and its name is Amazon. 

Back in 2012, the company bought Kiva Systems for $775 million and renamed it Amazon Robotics. The deal, in hindsight, was a prescient indicator of the outsized role robotics would take in the warehouse automation and fulfillment industry.

In just one decade, Amazon has transformed warehouse automation, grown its fleet of autonomous mobile robots to more than 500,000 and, as a result, completely redefined consumer expectations for fast, free delivery.

That’s an achievement worthy of exploration and why we’re thrilled to  announce that Joe Quinlivan, VP of Global Robotics, Fulfillment and Information Technology at Amazon, will join us on stage at TC Sessions: Robotics 2022 on July 22 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Continuing labor shortages and increased e-commerce demand, both factors driven by the ongoing effects of COVID-19, mean the need for automated solutions isn’t going anywhere but up. And Amazon continues to invest heavily. In 2021, the company opened its new, $40 million, 350,000 square foot Robotics Innovation Hub in Westborough, MA — a sister site to its nearby North Reading facility.

Automation is Amazon’s not-so-secret e-commerce weapon, and we can’t wait to hear Quinlivan talk about what it took to build its vast robot army. And we’re curious to learn what innovations might come next.

Some of the autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) the company currently “employs” shuttle containers across giant warehouses, which are 800,000 square feet on average, that workers then fill or unpack. These robots can shave literal miles off the amount of walking required of many warehouse workers during a given shift.

We’ll also check in with Quinlivan about how long it might be before we see the ultimate, yet still elusive, automation tool: a robot with human hand-like dexterity that can grip, lift and move merchandise of varying shapes and sizes.

Quinlivan, who holds multiple degrees in engineering and computer science, should be the man with the answers. After all, he’s responsible for driving Amazon’s robotics organization forward by turning complex problems into elegant solutions.

Don’t miss a fascinating conversation with Joe Quinlivan, the general of Amazon’s robot army, about what it took to build it and what we can expect from the next wave of automated warehouse robots.

TC Sessions: Robotics 2022 takes place in person on July 22 in Boston, Massachusetts. Buy your pass before June 25 at 11:59 pm (PT) and save $200. Then get ready to join the robotics community’s top technologists, makers, thinkers, researchers and investors.