In 2012, Amazon recognized the value of a robot producing company known as Kiva Systems. The robots became a centerpiece of Amazon’s logistical system, toting shelves of goods from the warehouse floor to lines of humans who would pick out the right items and send the robots back again.
Now Amazon’s competitors in retail will get their chance to catch up. Some of the same team of roboticists who worked for Kiva Systems is back with a new invention known as the Chuck.
The new robot cart helps warehouse workers by carrying many items, and leading the humans around the warehouse to the correct shelves for restocking. The Chuck can also help find items that have been purchased.
Lara Kolodny writes about Chuck at CNBC:
The Chuck is essentially a self-driving cart that leads workers around a facility to the items that they need to pull off of shelves to fulfill a given order. It can also help workers quickly restock items that have been returned.
A screen on the Chuck shows users information about their own productivity during a shift, alerting them if they’re close to achieving a personal best, for example. The idea is to motivate them to work as safely and efficiently as possible.
That’s a good thing because the industry is actually facing a labor shortage in the U.S. Just 943,000 people worked in warehousing and storage in the U.S. last year, according to data from the Department of Labor. And they helped to pick and pack $394.8 billion worth of goodssold online, representing about 12 percent of total U.S. retail sales, according to Internet Retailer research.
Read more here.