While robots are in the spotlight in warehouse management, it’s the human that have an “intuitive understanding of the movement of objects, and fine motor skills that give them a firm hold on key warehouse operations like packaging and stowing goods,” according to Angel Gonzalez of the Seattle Times.
And these warehouse jobs are growing. Looking at Amazon.com that point become clear. The company has 30,000 robots but employs more than 230,000 employees and that number is growing. In fact it's these jobs that are pushing Amazon.com towards becoming the second largest employer of Fortune 500 companies.
Amazon's workers’ presence alongside thousands of orange robots — invented by a company formerly known as Kiva Systems, which Amazon acquired in 2012 — points to a lengthy coexistence in the expanding world of logistics, explains Gonzalez.
The robots are efficient in tightly-controlled environments but it’s the humans that can deal with complexity.
“Once you get into more unstructured environments, involving objects with different shape and size and material properties, as well as unpredictable spatial arrangements of multiple objects, it is still cheaper to hire humans (even in the U.S.) than to develop customized robotic solutions,” explained Emanuel Todorov, a robotics researcher at the University of Washington in the Seattle Times article.
Read the full article on the collaboration between warehouse workers and robots.