Amazon hosts MARS robotics event

Online giant Amazon has been hosting an invitation only robotics and artificial intelligence conference in Palm Springs this week. This apparently has enabled the founder and CEO Jeff Bezos to mingle with delegates at the Machine Learning (Home) Automation Robotics and Space Exploration (MARS) event.

Last week, Apex Insight reported how Amazon is purportedly in the running to buy Boston Dynamics from Google, which published a viral video of its humanoid robots picking parcels onto shelves and walking in the snow. This could indicate that the company is interested in replacing humans with robots in its distribution and warehousing facilities.

Amazon already has a robotics company called Kiva, and uses thousands of machines made by the company in its warehouses, though these are nothing as sophisticated as the robot in the Boston Dynamics video…

Recently, Deutsche Post DHL (DPDHL) Group published a Robotics in Logistics trend report that concluded that “robots are going to become essential in the world of logistics”. Importantly, however, DPDHL Group pointedly use the term “collaborative robots” – in other words, sophisticated machines that work alongside humans, rather than replacing them.

Amazon takes a similar public stance.

Last year the tech news website Geekwire published a news story about robots in fulfilment centres. Amazon made a statement in the story that went, “Our fulfillment centers are a symphony of robotics, software, of people and of high-tech computer science algorithms – machine learning everywhere—and our employees are key to the process.

“There has been no job loss associated with the use of robotics in our buildings and in fact due to increased efficiencies, some of our buildings utilizing robotics have the highest headcounts in our network.”