How Amazon Triggered a Robot Arms Race

July 15, 2016 5:00 am

What if your boss offered you a five-minute break every hour? Not bad, right? It would stop sounding so great, though, if he asked you to work 24-hour shifts, seven days a week, all year long.

That’s exactly what Jeff Bezos was looking to overcome when he made Amazon’s warehouse fully automated. Tiny, Roomba-like robots zip around the company’s fulfillment centers filling orders all day and night, only stopping to recharge. Moving towers of products, Amazon’s bots cover 12 miles a day and prove they can do what humans cannot. In fact, humans aren’t even allowed in the robot areas.

The automated warehouse concept began when Amazon invested $775 million in robotics company Kiva Systems in 2012. Now that Bezos’ automated workplace has proven invaluable, decreasing Amazon’s operating costs by 20 percent, other retailers are looking to incorporate automation into their warehouses, too. Read the full story by Bloomberg here. To learn more about Amazon’s warehouse bots, watch them in action below.

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