Amazon launches autonomous Proteus robot
Amazon has unveiled its first fully-autonomous robot a full decade after the US e-commerce company bought robot coordination and fulfilment company Kiva.
The company’s collection of robots has hit 200,000 across its 1,137 fulfilment centres but, up until now, they have never worked freely alongside human Amazon workers.
“Historically, it’s been difficult to safely incorporate robotics in the same physical space as people,” stated Amazon. “We believe Proteus will change that while remaining smart, safe, and collaborative.”
Proteus autonomously moves through its facilities using “advanced” safety, perception, and navigation technology developed by Amazon.
It can operate in a way that augments “simple, safe” interaction between technology and people – opening up a “broader” range of possible uses to help employees, such as the lifting and movement of GoCarts, and the non-automated wheeled transports used to move packages through its facilities.
In a video release, Proteus moves to what is assumed the centre space under an Amazon GoCart (a cage full of products), does a 90 degree spin, and then lifts the entire cart off the ground.
To demonstrate the bot’s cooperative nature, it halts when it detects a human in its path. They seem to acknowledge each other for a moment before each continues on its way.
Amazon said Proteus will initially be deployed in the outbound GoCart handling areas in its fulfillment centres and sort centres, but in time, the retail giant plans to expand the bot throughout its inventory and fulfillment network.
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