Amazon Launches Robotic System for Collaborative Warehouse WorkAmazon Launches Robotic System for Collaborative Warehouse Work
Sparrow is said to enable genuine human-robot collaboration
November 30, 2022
Amazon has launched a new intelligent robotic system for handling and sorting products at its warehouses. The company says the system, dubbed Sparrow, is its first robotic system that can detect, select and handle individual products.
Designed to sort and pick products from bins and shelves, Sparrow is a robotic arm with an array of retractable suction cup-like devices that leverages computer vision and AI to recognize and handle “millions” of items. Amazon says it will significantly accelerate the picking and packing process at its warehouses, a process that last year saw approximately 5 billion packages sent out for delivery.
Sparrow joins Amazon’s host of existing robotic warehouse helpers, including robotic arms Robin and Cardinal which similarly sort through items for delivery, though these earlier models are not able to identify or select individual items.
The company has stressed that these robotic systems are intended to work alongside, rather than replace, human employees.
“Sparrow will take on repetitive tasks, enabling our employees to focus their time and energy on other things, while also advancing safety,” the company said. “At the same time, Sparrow will help us drive efficiency by automating a critical part of our fulfillment process so we can continue to deliver for customers.”
Amazon claims the implementation of robotics and technology has boosted job opportunities, creating “over 700 new categories of jobs” across its operations. The company has also launched a robotics and automation apprenticeship program for staff, which includes 2,000 hours of on-the-job training in novel robotics systems and devices.
“These new types of roles, which employ tens of thousands of people across Amazon, help tangibly demonstrate the positive impact technology and robotics can have for our employees and for our workplace,” the company wrote.
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