Big news from Amazon, as the Seattle company announced they have their “first autonomous mobile robot,” and it has a name. Proteus.
According to Amazon, Proteus is pretty talented and can safely navigate around human employees, which is a definite step up from earlier iterations of a robot that they had to keep locked up in a cage.
Proteus robots apparently have “advanced safety, perception, and navigation technology which keeps them from running over humans who may cross their path.
Okay, so they have what appears to be a functional robot whom the company doesn’t have to worry about calling in sick or raiding the petty cash drawer. But there are some downfalls, specifically labor concerns for Amazon. The company had to announce that they were not building robots in order to hire fewer humans.
Here’s a quote from the head of Amazon’s robotics division to Forges. “Replacing people with machines is just fallacy.”
Okay. Not exactly reassuring for warehouse workers hoping to keep their job a long time.
There could be lots of robots on the Amazon payroll, as more appear to be on the drawing board. According to a story in the Verge, the company is trying to perfect a root that can deliver containers to workers instead of having them risk serious back injuries by breeding or climbing to reach items.
Warehouse workers are reportedly injured at twice the national average, so safety is constantly on the minds of engineers at Amazon. Or it better be if it’s not.