Robot Proteus Amazon

Amazon is stocking up on robots in its warehouses, including a new fully autonomous machine

According to 01Net’s Amazon is stocking up on robots in its warehouses, including a new fully autonomous machine
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The new Proteus robot can peacefully co-exist with humans to move carts, while the Cardinal articulated arm makes it easier to handle heavy packages.

Amazon is increasingly trying to automate certain tasks in its warehouses using robots. But this does not go smoothly, because their coexistence with humans sometimes proves difficult, even dangerous. However, a new model, bearing the name of Proteus, changes the game. This robot is completely autonomous and, above all, does not need to be confined to a specific area of ​​the warehouse, separated from humans. Here is what it looks like:

Similar to a robot vacuum, Proteus is capable of carrying carts of the type rolls, containing cartons. And if ever an employee crosses his path, he automatically stops and waits for the person to move away. Amazon insists on the use of navigation and perception technologies to ensure the best possible security. This is why Proteus will be deployed in the external handling areas of the carts, in order to limit the movement of heavy objects by employees.

An articulated arm doped with artificial intelligence

This is also why Amazon is also implementing an articulated arm with suction cups and named Cardinal.

Using vision and artificial intelligence technologies, Cardinal can quickly grab a box from a stack, read its label, and place it in the appropriate cart. Again, its use reduces the risks for employees who handle heavy objects. Its presence is limited to a confined space, because of its lifting and rotational movements. A prototype of the robot is currently being tested to handle packages weighing up to 22 kilos. Amazon hopes to be able to roll it out to its centers next year.

Artificial intelligence is also implemented to facilitate packet identification.

Thanks to employee suggestions, Amazon has designed a process that no longer requires the use of a hand-held scanner to read the package’s barcode, something that must be done manually in most cases. A system of cameras at 120 images per second will automatically take care of the identification phase when, for example, the employee takes the package out of the cart to place it in a locker.

Finally, Amazon is offering a new robotic system to deliver products to employees, without them having to pick them up high or near the ground, or even climb a ladder.

Here again, the robots come to the rescue, with automatic arms that take the packages and deposit them in small carts, also automated, for the employees. Thus, the operation is faster (the person does not waste time looking for the products in the different bins), but also safer by eliminating dangerous manipulations.

All these technologies show the progress made over the past decade by Amazon, which initiated this effort in 2012 by buying the robotics company Kiva. Currently, 520,000 robotic units are in operation in the various centers, but Amazon insists that the robots are there to help humans, not replace them. Let’s hope that these advances will not lead in the future to fully automated warehouses, without any employees.

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