Amazon Announces Four New Systems to Ease Ergonomics in Its Warehouses

From mobile robots to containerized storage, Amazon has developed robots and automation to help its warehouse workers.


Amazon is adding the autonomous Proteus to the mobile robots in its facilities.
Amazon introduced its first fully autonomous mobile robot 10 years after acquiring Kiva Systems. The company also announced three systems intended to improve warehouse working conditions.

When Inc. acquired Kiva Systems Inc. in 2012, it pulled the shelf-moving robot off the market for in-house use only. This forced retailers, warehouses, and logistics providers to turn to other suppliers, ultimately leading to the fast-growing mobile robot market.

“While the Kiva acquisition kickstarted the use of robotics and other technology at our facilities, it was just the start of our robotics journey,” wrote Amazon in a blog post. “We continued to innovate in new and exciting areas to improve the customer and employee experience and create an even safer workplace. And that innovation continues.”

In conjunction with its re:MARS event today, Amazon announced Proteus, its first fully autonomous mobile robot (AMR), as well as the Cardinal robotic workcell, the Amazon Robotics Identification (AR ID) for package scanning, and the Containerized Storage System. To learn more about each system, see the slideshow at right.

New systems join existing robot fleet

The Seattle-based e-commerce company noted that it has used more than 520,000 robotic drive units and hired over 1 million people worldwide in the past decade. It already uses more than a dozen types of robots, including robotic arms and grippers, delivery drones, and mobile robots, some of which were developed by its Amazon Robotics division.

Through its Amazon Web Services (AWS) unit, the company also integrates robots, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things (IoT). In October 2021, Amazon Robotics announced that it was opening a new robot manufacturing facility in Westborough, Mass.

Amazon said its four new systems are intended to improve ergonomics and warehouse working conditions. They have been a point of controversy and an impediment to retention and recruitment, even as labor shortages affect nearly every industry.

In addition to robots for safer and more efficient fulfillment centers, Amazon at re:MARS discussed Space ROS, a version of the open-source Robot Operating System to accelerate space exploration (see video below).

Now the space industry is following suit by developing Space ROS, which will allow ROS to be qualified for space applications and reused across missions, saving development effort and speeding up robotic space exploration. In this session, hear about the past, present, and future of space robotic exploration and discuss the plans for Space ROS.

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Amazon is adding the autonomous Proteus to the mobile robots in its facilities.

Related Slideshow

1. Amazon builds Proteus to collaborate
2. Cardinal twists and lifts
3. AR ID automates scanning
4. Containerized storage considers ergonomi…

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