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Amazon's Trial of Humanoid Robots: Shaping the Future of Logistics?

In a recent "Deliver the Future" event, Amazon announced its plans to initiate testing of Agility's humanoid robot, Digit. This move could potentially pave the way for the introduction of these bipedal robots into Amazon's nationwide distribution centers. While this is just an initial trial, such early collaborations may hint at significant future developments.

On the 23rd, Amazon commenced testing of the humanoid robot, Digit, at its BFI1 operation center in Sumner. Manufactured by Agility Robotics, Digit stands at approximately 1.75 meters in height, weighs 65 kilograms, and can carry a maximum load of 16 kilograms. It boasts two arms and two legs, enabling it to move forward and backward, turn, and bend its body. Digit is currently employed as a warehousing robot, responsible for retrieving Amazon's iconic yellow boxes. 


(source: bloomberg)

Last April, Amazon included Agility as one of the first five recipients of its $1 billion Industrial Innovation Fund. While being listed in the fund does not guarantee Amazon's future utilization of the technology, it does indicate the retail giant's interest in its potential.

Amazon's Chief Robotics Officer, Tye Brady, Told the Guardian the company's intrigue with walking robots.“There’s not any part of me that thinks that would ever be a reality,” he said. “People are so central to the fulfillment process; the ability to think at a higher level, the ability to diagnose problems."

Currently, Amazon has deployed 750,000 Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) within its warehouse network. For Amazon, any system needs to prove its ability to enhance productivity before it can be integrated into its ever-expanding robotic ecosystem. This pursuit is not just for innovation but to seek any possible advantages in delivering goods to customers in even shorter timeframes. In particular, the role of humanoid robots, especially bipedal ones, remains to be observed. The scalability of new systems needs to match Amazon's almost unimaginable scale.

As Amazon makes strides in the world of humanoid robots, the potential impact on the future of logistics and delivery becomes increasingly significant. While the road ahead may be uncertain, the potential for innovation and the advancement of automation in the e-commerce giant's operations is undeniable. 

The testing of Agility's Digit may be just the beginning of a new chapter in Amazon's ongoing quest to enhance efficiency and customer service through the integration of cutting-edge technology. Only time will reveal the true extent of this technological transformation and its implications for the logistics industry and beyond.

The integration of humanoid robots may indeed revolutionise how goods are delivered to customers, setting the stage for a future where automation plays a pivotal role in the ever-evolving logistics landscape.

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Tags: #technology #AI #logistics


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