Amazon warehouses get a fully autonomous mobile robot

Proteus, Amazon’s first fully autonomous mobile robot, can safely navigate around human employees

So much seems to be happening at Amazon. The innovation in the tech front at the company, and the latest comes in the form of a fully autonomous mobile robot. A first by all standards, the fully autonomous mobile robot has as its mandate moving large carts throughout Amazon’s warehouses.

Christened Proteus, Amazon’s new fully autonomous mobile robot has been enabled with capabilities to safely navigate around human employees. If you would remember, the earlier iterations of robots at Amazon’s warehouses were kept separated from humans by a caged area made specially for the machines.

Proteus, as per a report quoting Amazon officials, comes advanced safety, perception, and navigation technology. A video that has surfaced on the web displays the Proteus robots beaming a green light in front of them as they keep moving. a green light in front of themselves as they move around.

This is a kind of precautionary measure. When a human steps into the green beam, the robot automatically stops moving and waits till the human walks away so that it can go into mobile mode again.

Amazon also brings in Cardinal, a robotic arm

If you thought Proteus is a one off mobile robot in the Amazon stables, let’s tell you there are more. Yet another robotic system named Cardinal, comes across as a robotic arm with capabilities to lift and move packages weighing up to 50 pounds.

The Cardinal is endowed with computer vision systems that makes it capable of picking out and lifting individual packages, even if form part of a pile. It is being said that Amazon would deploy the Cardinal robotic arms at its warehouses starting next year.

New robots could help improve safety

Yet another innovation is the robotics system would allow employees to shun the hand scanners to read barcodes. The new innovation will allow them to stand in front of a camera system which would identify packages without pausing to scan the label. The system puts to play a combination of machine learning and a 120 fps camera system to make this possible.

Though there have been concerns about robots replacing human workforce, Amazon has stressed that all its new robots could actually help improve safety. For instance, Cardinal can work in spots where workers would otherwise lift and twist heavy packages and could risk being injured.  Meanwhile, Proteus will be able to cut down in the need to for people to manually move heavy objects.

Sanjeev Ramachandran

A journalist with 23 years of experience, Sanjeev has worked with reputed media houses such as Business Standard, The Ne More »

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