In Amazon’s Newest Warehouse, 10 Robots for Each Human
Amazon’s newest warehouse, with more robots than ever, brings America closer to an automated future when machines do all the work of moving everything from groceries to laptops from makers to users. And do it faster.
(TNS) — Amazon’s biggest, newest warehouse, with more robots than ever, brings America closer to an automated future when machines do all the work of moving everything from groceries to laptops, from makers to users. And do it faster.
While Amazon has been building increasingly automated warehouses since opening its first satellite center in 1997, five miles down the road in New Castle, Del., this $250 million showcase is something entirely different.
Insides the five-story plant — as big as 17 football fields, or four of Philadelphia’s tallest high rises — an electromechanical ballet performed by robots takes place in an eerie quiet. Robot vehicles, guided by optical and motion sensors, make turns tightly adjacent to one another, selecting and carrying Amazon’s vast array of merchandise from storage to delivery.
There are still workers unloading trucks from suppliers and stowing the contents — not in vast shelves for hands to grab but in eight-foot-tall stacks of square yellow bins. Once within these, goods begin their robotic travels.
Hour after hour, tireless robots seize the stacks and move them across the vast floors, dutifully pausing before isolated checkers, flesh, and blood, who wave electronics devices to verify the orders. Finally, workers pack the sorted goods onto conveyors to carry them to loaders for delivery.
And Amazon is developing drones and self-driving vehicles to speed those last steps.