Amazon details new warehouse robots, ‘Ernie’ and ‘Bert’ – –

Amazon details new warehouse robots, ‘Ernie’ and ‘Bert’ – –

Amazon warehouse workers may soon be joined by a few new colleagues: Ernie and Bert.
These are the names of the new robots that Amazon is testing in an attempt to reduce painful movements of workers.

While the introduction of robots to the workplace often raises questions about whether human jobs will be replaced, Amazon argues that they simply allow workers to focus on the tasks that require their attention the most while minimizing their risk of injury. Amazon said it has created more than a million jobs globally since it started using robotics at its facilities in 2012.

In May, Amazon announced its goal of reducing recordable incident rates by 50% by 2025. It plans to invest more than $ 300 million in security projects this year.

Amazon described in a blog post on Sunday four robots it is testing to move items around its fulfillment centers and closer to workers.

Ernie helps remove items from a robotic shelf so employees don’t have to. The process doesn’t save time, Amazon said in the post, but tests so far have indicated it could make work safer for employees.

Bert is one of Amazon’s first Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs), designed to navigate facilities independently, even when workers are on the move. Unlike other robots, Bert wouldn’t need to stay in a tight space, meaning workers could ask him to haul things around a facility. Amazon said Bert could potentially move heavier items.

Scooter and Kermit are two other AMRs in development that transport carts. Amazon said these types of robots could take over workers’ tasks of moving empty packages around facilities so they can focus on activities requiring critical thinking skills and reduce physically strenuous work.

Kermit, which tracks magnetic tape to move empty bins, is further along in its development, Amazon said, and will be introduced to at least a dozen North American locations this year. Amazon said it plans to deploy Scooter in at least one facility this year.

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