Amazon is building its first fully autonomous mobile robot for its warehouses. The newly presented project is called “Proteus” and will soon be used worldwide. The little helper will be used in different areas. The robot, called Proteus, will soon make its debut in fulfillment and sorting centers.
Amazon’s first fully autonomous mobile warehouse robot will act very differently from the robot helpers used to date. Because, unlike other warehouse robots, Proteus can actually work safely next to people and can therefore be used in all areas.
The e-commerce giant started years ago that one goal is to build warehouse robots that don’t replace people but assist them. Proteus wants to meet these expectations. “In the past, it was difficult to safely integrate robots into the same physical space as humans,” explains Amazon in a blog post “We believe Proteus will change that while remaining smart, secure, and collaborative.” Project Proteus: Amazon’s Autonomous Warehouse Robot
Foundation Stone of Kiva Systems
About ten years ago, Amazon announced the acquisition of the robotics company Kiva Systems and built its own robotics company. The research of recent years has now contributed to the autonomous approach. Advanced safety, detection, and navigation technologies allow Proteus to move autonomously through people on the job, so it doesn’t have to be confined to specific areas.
Ease of routine work
New technology also makes some work steps superfluous. Currently, all packages are scanned in the distribution centers and at each destination during their journey. In the fulfillment centers, this scanning is currently done manually: a shipment arrives at a workstation, and the package is removed from a container by an employee. The barcode is then scanned by an employee with a hand scanner. The newly developed AR ID eliminates the need for barcodes and manual scanning by utilizing 120 frames per second camera system.
While an employee – or the Proteus robot – selects a package, all necessary data is captured by the camera system at all times. In addition to Proteus, the Cardinal robotic arm will be launched, which can carry packages up to 50 pounds (about 23 kilograms) for heavy lifting. Amazon is expected to start using the new technology in its fulfillment centers next year.
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