During a visit to Amazon’s Dartford fulfilment centre, the ecommerce giant explained to Internet Retailing that the technology and innovation it adopts is for its customers.
“We always target a two hour window from the moment someone clicks to getting out the door. But we’re always looking to, with our different technologies, innovate on behalf of the customer,” said John McEwen, site leader for Amazon Operations, Dartford.
“We use AI on our robotics floor. It helps map our most efficient routes for our pods to get to our employees,” he explained.
Thousands of robots, and tens of thousands of pods, operate across three robotic floors at the 547,000sq.ft Kent site. Each robot weighs 136kg and can lift 668kg, which Amazon reported was the equivalent of a cow, 200 cats or a grizzly bear. The robots move at a brisk walking pace.
The marketplace added that across its global operations more than 750,000 mobile robots are in use at over 300 facilities. It estimated that currently around 75% of Amazon customer orders are handled in part by robotics.
Amazon stressed that collaborative robotics and ops tech drives career opportunities and improves safety for its employees. These systems are designed to take on part of the heavy lifting and repetitive tasks from its employees, who can then oversee the robots as they move, sort and package customer orders.
“By leveraging the latest in AI, ML and CV and by focusing on collaborative design, our technology is making our operations safer. It is also giving time back to our employees so they can focus on what they do best: finding new ways to delight customers,” an Amazon spokesperson added.
“We’re often asked if technology can make our operations safer, and the answer is yes. In the last few years alone, we’ve added several different technologies to our operations and this, along with other efforts, has led to a nearly 24% drop in our recordable injury rates across our network since 2019. We have more than 8,000 safety and health professional around the world whose sole responsibility is mitigating risk to protect our people,” the spokesperson concluded.