Based on the recent reports provided by the online sales platform, Amazon held “Picking Challenge” robot competition to replace human workers. The event took place over the weekend during a contest which saw the participation of both national and international robotics engineers.
Amazon, one of the most famous online sales platforms at present, set on the quest to gaining more visibility by organizing an unprecedented robotics event. According to the data provided by the company, the “Picking Challenge” competition was held last weekend in Seattle, during the IEEE’s International Conference on Robotics and Automation.
More than 15,000 robots took part in the contest in an attempt to prove that they can successfully carry out warehouse tasks and that they might replace human workers in the near future. Engineers asked the robots to carry out activities that were specific for Amazon’s warehouses, such as, taking objects from the company’s shelves and placing them in specific bags.
For the comparison to be genuine, engineers programmed the bots to select different types of products as each and every one required different skills on behalf of the automatic machineries. Thus, the robots had to pick a paperback book, a packet of Oreo biscuits, dog toys and rubber ducks from the shelves and then, carefully place them in specific bags.
The results of the tests have shown that not all robots were as accurate in carrying out the said tasks. Some of them have encountered difficulties in selecting the product or in carrying them around the warehouse. As one might expect, there were many robots dropping objects on the floor, but need not worry: none of the dog toys has suffered any injuries during experiments.
Scientists carefully analyzed the movement schemes and the precision of every robot in the competition. They have added points for every mission that was successfully carried out and, on the contrary, detracted points when the bot was not able to complete the said tasks.
The winner of the “Picking challenge” competition was by far the Team RBO from the Technical University of Berlin, whose robot has managed to pack 10 products out of 12 without making any major mistakes. The team gathered 148 points and was awarded $20,000 at the end of the competition.
In spite of the numerous rumors that have been made in relation to Amazon’s intention of replacing its warehouse employees with smart robots, the company claims it does not plan to do so in the near future. The CEO of Amazon has reassured its employees that the robots, should they ever be included in warehouse activities, they will never replace human workers, but mere help them carry out work tasks during the busy periods of the year.
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