Amazon Tests Out New Robot Workers

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Despite Amazon's colossal footprint and a market capitalisation of more than $1 trillion, its profit margin last year amounted to just 6.3 percent, placing it firmly below the 10-percent threshold
Despite Amazon's colossal footprint and a market capitalisation of more than $1 trillion, its profit margin last year amounted to just 6.3 percent, placing it firmly below the 10-percent threshold

Amazon (AMZN) is introducing two new employees: Bert and Ernie. The two warehouse robots, named after the famous "Sesame Street" muppets, are being tested to improve worker safety, according to a company blog post on Sunday.

The e-commerce giant has drawn attention for its high warehouse  employee-injury rate, something the robots are meant to alleviate. Amazon warehouses have faced criticism for prioritizing speed, therefore increasing stress and injury risks.

The robots will aid warehouses' fast-paced environment, while also taking high-risk tasks away from human workers. 

Amazon insists that robotic workers will not replace human jobs. Amazon noted that the company has "added over a million jobs around the world since it began using robotics in its facilities in 2012.” 

Amazon, the world's largest online retailer, has the highest worker injury rate. The company has said it hopes to reduce the rate by 50% by 2025 and will invest $300 million into safety projects.

Amazon will start the testing of four different types of robots. The main purpose of Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) will be to move products across the warehouse for employees to have easier access. 

Ernie is being tested to get items on and off mobile shelves. 

Bert is being tested to maneuver around facilities. Workers can ask Bert to move something across a building and the robot can even move around workers.

Two other robots under development are Scooter and Kermit. The robots can help with smaller, less important workers' tasks like moving empty packages across the facilities. This would allow for workers to put their attention on tasks that require more skill. The worker robots will also take over the more repetitive tasks.

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