Amazon is currently using more than 15,000 robots in 10 different warehouses to help with the manual lifting and transportation of goods.
The robots were created by Kiva Systems, a company Amazon purchased in 2012 for $774 million, and have only been in use since July of this year. Amazon has reported that the robots have greatly improved fulfillment efficiency, and have removed significant physical burdens from employees.
Amazon has received criticism in the past for the work conditions in its fulfillment centers, with employees sometimes working for 10 hours a day and walking up to 15 miles while transporting items within the warehouse. Now, the Kiva robots carry heavy products to the workers so the orders can be processed.
Amazon Senior Vice President of Operations Dave Clark told TIME Magazine that the robots remove the most difficult part of warehouse "picking," allowing employees to focus on the mental part of the process that robots cannot accomplish. Clark also added that the robots were in no way taking jobs away from warehouse workers.
In fact, Amazon has hired more employees to work in its fulfillment centers since activating the robots, because the company is moving more items at a faster pace. The more robots the company utilizes, the more human workers are needed as well.
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