Amazon has unveiled a smart robot that it believes will revolutionize warehouse workspaces. This picker robot named Amazon Sparrow uses artificial intelligence (AI) to identify objects in the warehouse.
This new robotic system represents a significant increase in efficiency and safety in the workspace. Amazon Sparrow can detect, select, and handle products in inventory very seamlessly.
Sparrow uses computer vision and AI which allows it to identify and handle millions of items in the warehouse. This tool will work on repetitive tasks, allowing employees to focus their time on other tasks.
Because Sparrow will help drive automation, Amazon says it will improve efficiency in its service delivery. Amazon also claims that by using robots, the company has created more than 700 new job categories.
However, it appears that Amazon has a strict record on workplace safety in locations where humans work alongside such robots. A 2020 report by the Center for Investigative Reporting points to a hazardous work environment in workplaces involving robots and humans.
In three years (2016-2019), there was a 50% higher rate of serious injury for Amazon employees in automated facilities than in facilities that did not use robots.
Previously there were claims by Amazon warehouse workers that the company was using robots to increase production quotas to very high levels. Thus, humans couldn't keep up with it anymore without injuring themselves.
The improved work profile for employees at this automated warehouse appears to be corroborated by investigative reports. Suspicion of these unfair labor practices has led US regulatory agencies to take the logistics giant by storm. The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted a long-awaited inspection last July to confirm Amazon's safety rating.