Complete Automation in Warehouses is a Decade Away: Amazon Official

Robotics

 

Amazon Robotics FulFillment director Scott Anderson said that warehouses is still needs human power for its operations and he sees that warehouses are yet to be fully automated for a decade / Photo by: Scott Lewis via Flickr

 

Warehouses wouldn't see themselves being fully automated for about another 10 years, said Amazon Robotics FulFillment director Scott Anderson, as he believed humans are still a necessary element to warehouse operations.

“There is a fallacy in the initial understanding of ‘Are we going to be a lights-out fulfillment network in the next few years?’” Anderson said as quoted by Gizmodo. “In the current form, the technology is very limited. The technology is very far from the fully automated workstation that we would need.”

A decade is quite a long time in the technology industry, according to the Amazon director, although it opposes the point of view of Amazon's fulfillment center's employees of over 100,000 people.

The same could also be said for the perception for local economies and social systems that would have to adapt to a large influx of automated-out-of-work employees, the tech news site stated.

It added that if the retail giant and its competitors completely automate their warehouse operations in the next decade, that would eradicate a million unskilled jobs and there would be no obvious replacement for them.

Recently, the company went under fire when it was revealed that Amazon used a system that automatically determines the productivity levels of its warehouse workforce. The report, which the Verge published, added that the tech firm dismissed laggards if the system found that they were too slow in moving packages.

The disparity of the 10-year timeline is evident on the media coverage of Anderson's statement: For Bloomberg, it was a sign that robots are already taking over Amazon but for Reuters, people should not concern themselves about full automation for a while yet.

Some experts, Gizmodo included, believe that fully automated factories won't be seen in just a decade, as some warehouse robots are still clumsy and can be easily confused. But this won't hinder Amazon from rolling out robots for other factory tasks, even if it the machines misfire and humans would have to pick up the slack.

Regardless, the automation of warehouses is certainly approaching, whether it leads to "dark" human-free operations within a decade or not.