Amazon will soon introduce robots into its warehouses to reduce strenuous movement making it safer for employees to work. The e-commerce giant recently released the details of its automated robots -- ‘Ernie’ and ‘Bert’ -- that will soon be working in its fulfilment centres, according to a CNBC report.
‘Ernie’ is a robotic device that moves items stored on a robotic shelf, doing away with the need for a human to do the task. The workers won’t need to bend, stretch,, or hunch over while getting the items.
While Amazon indicated that the creation doesn’t save on time, data so far indicates that ‘Ernie’ would make working safer for employees.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2019 data, “overexertion and bodily reaction” are the most common cause of injury in a workplace. These injuries are often caused by lifting heavy objects from the ground without proper form or lifting objects for long terms with repeated movements.
Amazon’s second robot, ‘Bert’, will be able to navigate the entire facility without being restricted to any area, and even avoid moving workers. It would carry items in the warehouses from one corner to the other, eventually carrying heavier items. The robot is the first of Amazon’s Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) being developed to navigate Amazon facilities autonomously.
“We’re known for being passionate about innovating for customers, but being able to innovate with robotics for our employees is something that gives me an extra kick of motivation each day,” said Kevin Keck, worldwide director of Advanced Technology, Amazon in a blog post.
“The innovation with a robot like Ernie is interesting because while it doesn’t make the process go any faster, we’re optimistic, based on our testing, it can make our facilities safer for employees,” he added.
Workplace injuries are a common cause of lost productivity in workplace areas like factories and warehouses. Amazon has committed to investing $300 million into safety projects this year and to cut workplace incidents by 50 percent by 2025.
“The role robotics and advanced technology can play in not only innovating for customers, but helping make our facilities safer, is a massive motivation for me and my team,” said Keck.
He added that the health and safety of their employees is their number one priority.