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Amazon Says Fully Automated Warehouses at Least a Decade Down Road

National  + Weekender  | 

Fully automated warehouses buzzing with robots efficiently shipping orders out to customers may be what is envisioned, but that won’t soon be reality. Amazon.com Inc. says people still have superior cognitive abilities, and current technology simply has its limits.

The e-commerce giant that has led advances in quickly getting goods in people’s hands admits warehouse jobs won’t soon be disappearing. The technology is at least 10 years away that would pave the path to processing a single order that today is picked by a warehouse worker.

Robots can’t pick a single product from a bin now without damaging other products or inadvertently picking up more than one item. And, although Amazon is continuing to look for technologies that will further automate steps, the Seattle-based company’s Scott Anderson, director of Amazon Robotics Fulfillment, told reporters on a tour of its facility in Baltimore this week, “In the current form, the technology is very limited. The technology is very far from the fully automated workstation that we would need.”

Robots aren’t used in the fresh food departments, Amazon Fresh and Amazon Pantry, either. Though, they have been deployed in warehouses that primarily handle general merchandise ranging from lamps and clothing to kayaks and bikes.

Amazon operates 110 warehouses across the U.S, as well as 45 sorting centers and roughly 50 delivery stations. The online retailer has 125,000 full-time warehouse workers nationally.


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About Dennis Kaiser

Dennis Kaiser is Vice President of Content and Public Relations for Connect Commercial Real Estate. Dennis is a communications leader with more than 30 years of experience including as a journalist and in corporate and agency marketing communications roles. He is responsible for Connect’s client content operations and is involved in a range of initiatives ranging from content strategy, message development, copywriting, media relations, social media and content marketing services. In his most recent corporate communications roles, he led a regional public relations effort across Southern California for CBRE, played a key marketing role on JLL’s national retail team, and was responsible for directing the global public relations effort at ValleyCrest, the nation’s largest commercial landscape services company. In addition to his vast commercial real estate experience, Dennis has worked on communications and launch strategies for a number of residential projects such as Disney’s Celebration in Florida, Ritter Ranch in Palmdale California (7,200 homes, 22,000 acres), WaterColor in Florida and PremierGarage in Phoenix. Dennis’s agency background included firms such as Idea Hall and Macy + Associates. He has earned an outstanding reputation with organization leaders as a trusted advisor, strategic program implementer, consensus builder and exceptional collaborator. Dennis has developed and managed national communications programs for Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, both public and private. He’s successfully worked with journalists across the globe representing clients involved in major-breaking news stories, product launches, media tours, and company news announcements. Dennis has been involved in a host of charitable and community organizations including the American Cancer Society, Easter Seals, BoyScouts, Chrysalis Foundation, Freedom For Life, HOLA, L.A.’s BEST, Reach Out and Read, Super Bowl Host Committee, and Thunderbirds Charities.

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