Amazon unveiled its Sparrow robot this week. It's the company's first robotic system that can detect, select and handle individual products.
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Amazon introduces new warehouse robot ‘Sparrow’

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Amazon introduced the world to its Sparrow robot this week. The company said in a release Sparrow is Amazon’s “first robotic system in our warehouses that can detect, select and handle individual products.”

Amazon said its workforce of around 750,000 warehouse employees “picked, stowed, or packed” around 5 billion packages last year, or about 13 million per day. Amazon said it hopes Sparrow will enable the company to work “smarter, not harder, to operate efficiently and safely.”

The online retailer added Sparrow will take on repetitive tasks, allowing the human workforce to focus on other jobs. The device uses artificial intelligence, cameras and an articulating arm with suction cups to manipulate packages. A spokesperson for the company said Sparrow will streamline the fulfillment process and is capable of handling around 65% of the products Amazon sells on its website before they are packaged.

Sparrow is currently used at only one warehouse in Texas. The company plans a wider rollout possibly next year.

Amazon said Sparrow is being used only to consolidate inventory, for now. According to Business Insider, some Amazon employees think Sparrow could put them out of work.

“Everyone knows that Amazon wants to replace human labor with robots,” Ryan Brown, an Amazon worker and president of the union Carolina Amazonians United for Solidarity and Empowerment, told BI. Brown said the facility he works at has a different type of “robot arm,” but he said it’s usually down and in need of repair.

In its statement, Amazon said the introduction of robotics into its workplace has created more than 700 new categories of jobs. In 2020, Amazon introduced the Mechatronics and Robotics Apprenticeship program, which trains workers on how to repair and maintain robotics. 

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Amazon introduced the world to its Sparrow robot this week. The company said in a release Sparrow is Amazon’s “first robotic system in our warehouses that can detect, select and handle individual products.”

Amazon said its workforce of around 750,000 warehouse employees “picked, stowed, or packed” around 5 billion packages last year, or about 13 million per day. Amazon said it hopes Sparrow will enable the company to work “smarter, not harder, to operate efficiently and safely.”

The online retailer added Sparrow will take on repetitive tasks, allowing the human workforce to focus on other jobs. The device uses artificial intelligence, cameras and an articulating arm with suction cups to manipulate packages. A spokesperson for the company said Sparrow will streamline the fulfillment process and is capable of handling around 65% of the products Amazon sells on its website before they are packaged.

Sparrow is currently used at only one warehouse in Texas. The company plans a wider rollout possibly next year.

Amazon said Sparrow is being used only to consolidate inventory, for now. According to Business Insider, some Amazon employees think Sparrow could put them out of work.

“Everyone knows that Amazon wants to replace human labor with robots,” Ryan Brown, an Amazon worker and president of the union Carolina Amazonians United for Solidarity and Empowerment, told BI. Brown said the facility he works at has a different type of “robot arm,” but he said it’s usually down and in need of repair.

In its statement, Amazon said the introduction of robotics into its workplace has created more than 700 new categories of jobs. In 2020, Amazon introduced the Mechatronics and Robotics Apprenticeship program, which trains workers on how to repair and maintain robotics. 

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