Ernie, Bert, Kermit, and Scooter Are Amazon’s New Autonomous Helpers

Amazon Scooter robot that pulls carts 1 photo
Photo: Amazon
Amazon has its hands full and is looking for new ways to improve the workflow and make its employees’ jobs easier and safer. The global giant is now testing robots to carry out various tasks through its warehouses. The autonomous vehicles already have cute names and are continuously tested.
Moving packages and carts can be an exhausting job if you’re doing it for Amazon, where work never stops. That is why the multinational company has decided to improve its workers' life and reduce its work-related incidents by 50 percent over the next four years. The announcement was made last month and Amazon tries hard to stay true to its word.

That is why the Amazon Robotics and Advanced Technology labs located in several locations in the world are tirelessly developing and testing new technologies. They are using employee feedback, as well as various data and visualizations to create autonomous vehicles that move carts, totes, and packages around, in an attempt to ease the job of the Amazon staff.

There are currently four robots in testing, and they all have cute names: Ernie, Bert, Kermit, and Scooter.

Ernie delivers totes to employees using a robotic arm so that workers can do their job in a more comfortable, stable, and ergonomically friendly position. Bert is an autonomous mobile robot that navigates through the Amazon warehouses and carries various items around. While it is only in the testing phase for now, Amazon’s scientists hope that in the future the robot will be able to move around large and heavy carts with multiple packages on them.

Then there are Kermit and Scooter. Both of them are AGCs (autonomously guided carts) that are developed to transport carts. Kermit uses magnetic tape that is strategically placed with the purpose of guiding its navigation. It also uses tags that are placed along the way to help it know whether it should change its course, speed up or slow down.

Amazon states that using advanced technology will help make its facilities safer. The company started using robots in 2012, deploying 350,000 mobile drive unit robots worldwide.

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About the author: Cristina Mircea
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Cristina’s always found writing more comfortable to do than speaking, which is why she chose print over broadcast media in college. When she’s not typing, she also loves riding non-motorized two-wheelers, going on hikes with her dog, and rocking her electric guitars.
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