ALN Masthead

Amazon Puts Robots To Work

Before we get to today’s update I have an important announcement for you…

Next week on Tuesday, March 12th at 2pm ET we’ll be holding a live event in Austin, Texas during the South by Southwest conference. This is a completely FREE live-streamed call where we’ll talk all things AI and crypto. Make sure you block this time off on your calendar. I’ll be sending more emails as we get closer to the event so keep an eye out.

Now onto today’s update…

In almost every sci-fi book or movie ever, there are human-like robots.

Now they are in Amazon warehouses.

ALN-Alert-03-07(1)This week, the ‘everything store’ announced they are running a test pilot with a startup called Agility Robotics to use humanoid robots as helpers in their warehouse.

The robot, called Digit, is estimated to cost $10-15 an hour to operate and can help Amazon employees remove boxes from shelves and place them on conveyor belts.

Standing at 5-foot-9 inches, Digit looks like the stuff of sci-fi nightmares, with a boxy rectangular head and two white headlight eyes.

Although Digit currently costs slightly less than a human employee, executives at Agility Robotics expect that the price will come down to about $2-3 per hour in the next few years.

In that time, Digit will likely gain additional capabilities to support Amazon operations. 

Agility Robotics executives describe a future where Digit is put to work unloading trucks, a task that currently requires one or more human employees to achieve.

Eventually, we might even see Digit units out in the wild, delivering Amazon’s packages to customers' doorsteps. 

Amazon’s Long History with Robotics

Amazon has a long history of investing in Robotics. 

In 2012, the company acquired Kiva systems, a manufacturer of small robots used for moving shelves of merchandise autonomously around warehouses.

Last year, the company made an offer to acquire iRobot, the manufacturer of the popular Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner. Amazon announced earlier this year that they would not proceed with the acquisition after regulators in Europe signaled they intended to block the deal.

Amazon is also an early investor in Agility Robotics. 

For e-commerce companies, the benefits are obvious.

Robotics can produce tremendous cost savings, resulting in lower prices and faster delivery for customers.

However, it will take time before Digit or other humanoid robots can fully replace employees. 

For one thing, Digit is slow. 

In the time it takes Digit to turn around, a human can lift a package, put it on a conveyor belt, and return for another.

Despite these limitations, companies are eager to begin to test the technology and identify places where Digit can add value. 

Digit’s first assignment is in a role that has historically been associated with a high risk of injury. 

Depending on the success of the trial, we could see Amazon significantly increase its investment in humanoid robotics in the coming year.

As the world’s largest e-commerce platform, Amazon has a lot to gain from robotics and artificial intelligence. 

Although Amazon has lagged behind competitors like Microsoft, Google, and Meta in the development of AI assistants, the company remains on the bleeding edge of AI robotics.

As one of the largest players in robotics and AI, Amazon's embrace of humanoid robotics signals their belief that this technology will be transformative for supply chain and logistics over the long run. 

While not without hurdles, the use of robots has the potential to enable faster delivery times and lower costs which could benefit both companies and consumers. 

The Digit trial represents an early step into a future where robots become increasingly integrated into e-commerce fulfillment and last-mile delivery.

My team and I continue to remain bullish on Amazon.com, Inc (AMZN) as a member of our AI portfolio and believe the company has massive potential to become a dominant player in robotics and AI.

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