There is little doubt that Amazon operates some of the most technologically advanced warehouses in the world. As of the end of 2016, the Seattle Times noted that the company 'employed' roughly 45,000 robots spread across 20 fulfillment centers around the country.
As can be seen in the video below, the KIVA robots, a company which Amazon bought for $775 million in 2012, move product bins around the company's massive warehouses with relative ease. The bins are delivered by the KIVA robots on a just in time basis to human 'pickers' who grab whatever products are needed and finish the packing process before boxes are shipped off to customers.
But while they've seemingly mastered the art of moving bins around a warehouse floor with, for all essential purposes, miniature robotic forklifts, a solution to automating the simple task of picking individual items out of those bins has remained elusive. And, with 1,000's of very expensive, sickly and generally needy humans currently fulfilling that task, you can bet Amazon is eagerly pursuing that solution with some level of urgency.
In fact, just this weekend, Amazon will be hosting a robotics competition with 16 teams from around the world who will get a chance to show off their robotic "picking" technology for the chance to win a share of $250,000 in prize money. Per Bloomberg:
Read the entire article