Amazon is gearing up to introduce robo employees at its fulfilment centres across the globe, to make the workplace safer. With the robots in place, employees will not have to reach up to shelves or bend down to pick up items. The new workstation system called ‘Ernie’, uses a robotic arm to lift things off mobile shelves and deliver them to the staff. That means, the employees do not have to take any risks and can remain in a safe and comfortable position while Ernie does the reaching, bending, lifting and stretching for them.
The robotic arm, which is still being tested out, does not increase the speed of the work, but only ensures the safety of the employees at the facilities. Amazon is already testing another robo, Bert, which autonomously navigates through fulfilment centres and is equipped with advanced safety, perception and navigation technology developed inhouse by Amazon. Bert is Amazons’ first Autonomous Mobile Robot, or AMR, which it is hoped will make work faster and more efficient. If the tests prove fruitful and successful, employees can get Bert to carry items from one corner of the facility to another and cover a larger area.
With time and advanced features, Bert may even be able to lift heavy items or carts to transport items through the fulfilment centres and reduce the burden and strain on the employees.