Amazon is rolling out expanded robotics operations at fulfillment centers built on updated sorting machines, robotic arms, and its Roomba-like mover bots. The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon’s latest inventory processing system, which the company calls Sequoia, can speed up delivery fulfillment by 25 percent and launched this week at a facility in Houston.
The new system has robots designed to work alongside humans instead of replacing them, according to Amazon. Director of robotic storage technology David Guerin says that a significant portion of its operations will use them in the next three to five years.
The building blocks of Amazon’s latest system have already been in view, as the company has discussed the developments of its warehouse robots over the last year. A new sortation and binning machine moves containers from high on shelves to waist level, which Amazon says can increase safety and reduce injuries as workers don’t have to reach up for heavy items.
The company’s Sparrow robot arm can identify products inside totes and pull them out. There are also the autonomous Proteus and Hercules robots that roll around like robovacs and can lift and move shelves, distribute containers, and deliver products in the building so humans don’t have to.