Amazon’s newest helping hand is a two-foot orange robot.
The Pegasus drive robot technology, which will join the ranks of Amazon’s Kiva robots, is already helping workers move individual packages at Amazon’s sorting center in Denver, the company said Wednesday at its re:MARS AI conference in Las Vegas.
The company plans to roll out the Pegasus drive to other sortation centers later this year.
The robots are attached to a conveyer belt that leads them to employees. The employees place a package on each of the robots, which travel to their predetermined eject station. The actions give rise to a “robot highway,” where robots simultaneously transport packages to different stations within the facility all under two minutes.
While 800 robotic units are already in place at this single facility, Amazon said they aren’t meant to replace their human counterparts.
“We employ the same number of the people now that we did before we had the robotics field. The robots just pick up the extra workload,” Cathryn Kachura, a flow control specialist from the Denver sorting center, said in a blog post.
Within six months of their launch in October 2018, the robots have already collectively traveled more than 1.5 million miles throughout the center.
“We will need to hire more people to help sustain the increased productivity levels,” Steve Campbell, director of Amazon Robotics Product Strategy, said in the blog post. “This is the chain reaction of job growth we strive for when designing robotic systems.”