The Robots Are Coming... to Amazon Warehouses

Proteus is fully autonomous and will work alongside humans

According to decades-old science fiction, we were already supposed to have robots catering to our every whim, but the robotics industry is still finding its footing. 

Companies like Amazon, however, are pushing things along. The shipping giant just unveiled a warehouse robot named Proteus that is packed with high-tech advancements, as announced in an official company blog post.

Amazon Proteus

Amazon / YouTube

Proteus is a fully autonomous robot that works in the company's large and byzantine warehouses. Amazon has had robots working in warehouses since 2012, when they acquired robotics company Kiva, but this new bot is different. Proteus works alongside humans, a first for Amazon as previous robots were cordoned off to ensure safety. 

In other words, this cute little automaton safely navigates around humans as it performs its primary function of picking up stacks of boxes, transporting them somewhere else, and dropping them off at their new home. 

Amazon says the robot features "advanced safety, perception, and navigation technology." As seen in the below video, Proteus shines a green light as they move around. If a person walks in front of the light, the robot stops moving and begins again once the human has left. 

As for labor concerns, the company says they've added more than a million new jobs since ramping up the manufacture of worker robots throughout the past decade. For comparison's sake, Amazon also says they've built over 500,000 "robotic drive units" to complete various tasks. 

Beyond Proteus, which is the first of its kind, Amazon also announced some other notable innovations in the robotics space. Cardinal is a large robot arm that lifts and moves packages up to 50 pounds, and they also revealed the use of advanced AI for scanning packages.

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