Amazon is taking a step towards revolutionizing its warehouse operations with the integration of a new robotics system called Sequoia. The AI-powered technology aims to enhance delivery times, safety, and overall efficiency within the warehouses. The Wall Street Journal reveals that Sequoia has the potential to improve the speed of product retrieval and storage by up to 75 percent and boost order fulfillment efficiency by up to 25 percent.
In Amazon’s Houston-based warehouse, the Sequoia system has already been successfully implemented. The process involves vehicles transporting totes of products to a sorting machine, wherein robotic arms and computer vision are utilized to identify the inventory. Once identified, the products are then delivered to the employees for further processing and delivery. One significant safety feature of Sequoia is that it provides employees with items at waist level, eliminating the need for them to reach for objects on high shelves.
Another recent addition to Amazon’s warehouse robotics is Sparrow, an AI-powered robotic arm introduced in 2022. Sparrow focuses on identifying and moving the remaining products after Sequoia’s initial sorting process. While safety claims have been made regarding these robotics systems, Amazon’s track record in this area is under scrutiny. A report from the Center for Investigative Reporting’s Reveal publication revealed that between 2016 and 2019, employees working alongside robots in automated warehouses sustained injuries at twice the rate of those not working with robots. The introduction of robots increased the number of items employees needed to scan from 100 to up to 400 per hour.
As Amazon continues to implement Sequoia and Sparrow, it remains uncertain how these advancements will impact the workforce. There are concerns about potential job layoffs with the increased reliance on automated systems. However, Amazon aims to improve warehouse operations, delivery times, and safety with the integration of innovative robotics technology.
– Wall Street Journal
– Center for Investigative Reporting’s Reveal publication