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AI-Powered Robots Reduce Fulfillment Time by 25% at Amazon


Amazon is introducing an advanced robotics system, Sequoia, in its warehouses to enhance delivery efficiency, safety, and overall operations. Powered by AI technology, Sequoia is expected to boost the speed of locating and storing products by up to 75% and improve order fulfillment by up to 25%, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. This system has already been deployed in one of Amazon’s warehouses in Houston.

Sequoia operates by using vehicles to transport totes of products to a sorting machine. It employs robotic arms and computer vision to identify the inventory and subsequently sends it to employees for delivery. One of the safety benefits is that it ensures items are accessible at waist level, reducing the need for employees to reach high shelves. Building on this, after the introduction of Sparrow, an AI-powered robotic arm in warehouses in 2022, Sequoia continues to optimize operations by identifying and relocating remaining products.

However, it’s important to note that Amazon’s safety track record has been questioned. A 2020 report from the Center for Investigative Reporting’s Reveal publication revealed that Amazon employees working in automated warehouses sustained injuries at a rate double that of those not working alongside robots from 2016 to 2019 (Amazon disputed this reporting publicly). The use of robots increased the number of items employees needed to scan, from 100 to potentially 400 per hour. It remains uncertain whether the implementation of Sequoia will result in workforce reductions.

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