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Amazon rolls out robotic system at Houston warehouse to speed up deliveries

Oct 18, 2023

Oct 18 (Reuters) – Amazon.com (AMZN.O) said on Wednesday it was using a robotic system at one of its Houston warehouses to improve inventory management and speed up deliveries, building on its years-long bet that automation will help boost sales and worker safety.

The technology, called “Sequoia”, brings together a series of systems including mobile robots and robotic arms.

Amazon said Sequoia can help identify and store inventory 75% faster, while reducing the time to process orders at a warehouse by as much as 25%.

The e-commerce giant has been investing aggressively in automation for years, using them to package orders and creating technology that enables cashier-less retail stores, among others.

Several other major retailers have also recently laid out plans to invest in robotic systems, with rival Walmart (WMT.N) saying earlier this year it expects about 65% of its stores to be serviced by automation by the end of its fiscal year 2026.

Amazon, which has been in the crosshairs of U.S. safety regulators for allegedly hazardous conditions at its warehouses, is also banking on robots to improve worker safety.

The company said it would begin testing a bipedal robot called “Digit” from Agility Robotics, a startup backed by Amazon. Digit, already in testing at Ford, can move, grasp, and handle items in warehouses.

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