WESTBOROUGH, ESTADOS UNIDOS (AFP) – At Amazon’s robotics lab on the outskirts of Boston, Massachusetts, the company’s newest robot, ‘Sparrow’, selects items to ship to customers, demonstrating its a dexterity similar to that of a human hand.
It’s the e-commerce giant’s most advanced robot to date and could soon do the work of the hundreds of thousands of Amazon employees who sort and ship five billion packages a year.
The development of Sparrow and other robots like Robin and Cardinal is fueling fears that Amazon warehouses will one day be run by machines, resulting in huge layoffs.
Amazon robotics chief Tye Brady plays down those concerns, which have been voiced by unions. “These are not machines replacing people,” he told reporters during a tour of the lab last October.
“They are actually machines and people working together in order to collaborate to do a job.”
Equipped with cameras and cylindrical tubes, Sparrow can successfully detect and select an individual item from millions of products of different shapes and sizes.
He gently sucks up items that arrive on a conveyor belt and distributes them to the appropriate basket in front of him using his robotic arm.
Robin and Cardinal can only redirect entire packages, making Sparrow the first Amazon bot capable of handling individual products.