Amazon’s latest robot uses artificial intelligence to identify objects

Amazon unveils a new smart robot for its warehouses. Sparrow uses AI to identify items.

Amazon unveiled its latest robot for warehouses. In his own words, “Sparrow is the first robotic system in our warehouses capable of detecting, selecting and managing individual products in our inventory.” This robotic arm uses artificial intelligence and computer vision to recognize and manage millions of objects, again according to Amazon’s statement.

Amazon unveils a new smart robot for its warehouses

The American giant explains that, by using robots in its warehouses, it is able to manage its operations in a safer and more efficient way. “Sparrow will take care of repetitive tasks, allowing our employees to focus their time and energy on other things, while enjoying increased safety,” says Amazon. “At the same time, Sparrow will help us improve efficiency by automating much of our shipping process so we can continue delivering to our customers.” And to add that, thanks to the robots, the company was able to create more than 700 new types of positions.

Amazon is not really well placed when it comes to the working conditions of its employees in warehouses, and even more so when robots are involved. In 2020, the magazine Reveal from Center for Investigative Reporting reported that, between 2016 and 2019, the rate of serious injuries received by Amazon employees in automated warehouses was 50% higher than in warehouses without robots.

Sparrow uses AI to identify items

According to the article, the use of robots led Amazon to increase employee quotas, requiring some to scan up to 400 items per hour when they previously only had to do 100. “The data coincides with accounts of Amazon employees in warehouses and other security professionals who have used the robots to increase production quotas to the point where humans cannot keep up without putting themselves in danger,” according to the report. .

Last July, the US government was investigating Amazon following accusations of unsafe working conditions. L’Occupational Safety and Health Administration had conducted inspections that were “related, among other things, to Amazon’s work rate for its warehouse workers.”

Amazon has revealed Sparrow as many workers unionize across the United States, with robots sometimes replacing them. In March, employees at the JFK8 center in Staten Island voted to form a union, becoming the first Amazon warehouse to do so. The company questioned the results of this vote. More recently, workers at a warehouse in Albania, New York, had voted against it after Amazon had carried out an anti-union campaign.

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Amazon’s latest robot uses artificial intelligence to identify objects

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