By: +David Herron; Date: October 11, 2017
Modern business corporate mantra seeks to automate everything, eliminating the costs of human employees. Artificial intelligence and robotics have combined in Amazon's warehouse facilities to create an automated order fulfillment system.
Stored items are held in modular shelving units. The robots drive themselves around the warehouse, following markers on the floor, and slide underneath the shelving unit they are to move. The top of the robot lifts the shelving unit off the ground, and drives off carrying the shelves. The robot then has to make its way through the warehouse, dodging through the mulling crowd of other robots carrying other shelving units, until it arrives in the shipping area. Rather than human-driven forklifts, these robots perform the same task.
Humans have in front of them a screen showing the Amazon order they're assembling. The human picks what's needed off the shelving unit, and the robot drives off to return that unit back to the warehouse, while the human finalizes assembling the order.
The system lets Amazon store more stuff per square feet of warehouse space. Amazon can speed up order processing and this is how Amazon has begun to offer same-day-delivery.