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Home » Innovation » Watch: This warehouse robot is worrying people about their job security

Watch: This warehouse robot is worrying people about their job security

PortandTerminal.com, April 1, 2019

Boston Dynamics just released a demonstration video of robots stacking boxes at a warehouse that is both impressive and terrifying to many who have watched it.

The robot in the video below is an updated version of the company’s “Handle” bot, which Boston Dynamics first demonstrated back in 2017. The bot is back with even more functionality that lets it autonomously stack and unstack boxes that weigh up to 33 pounds, and move them onto and around conveyor belts.

Here’s how Boston Logistics describes the robots and the task that they are performing as they stack the warehouse pallets with boxes:

Handle is a mobile manipulation robot designed for logistics. Handle autonomously performs mixed SKU pallet building and depalletizing after initialization and localizing against the pallets. The on-board vision system on Handle tracks the marked pallets for navigation and finds individual boxes for grasping and placing. When Handle places a boxes onto a pallet, it uses force control to nestle each box up against its neighbors. The boxes used in the video weigh about 5 Kg (11 lbs), but the robot is designed to handle boxes up to (15 Kg) (33 lb). This version of Handle works with pallets that are 1.2 m deep and 1.7 m tall (48 inches deep and 68 inches tall).

Finally, here’s a quick summary of the comments from real people (we presume) have who have watched the video on YouTube:

  • Well there goes more jobs”
  • “We need universal basic income”
  • Unemployment rate just jumped another 20%”
  • Crazy. And pretty soon you’re gonna start seeing Fedex robots rolling down the sidewalk to deliver your mail. Imagine what it’s gonna look like in 10-20 years? We’re literally gonna be living in Star Wars!”
  • “That’s lame. Nothing can beat a pair of legs and a set of arms & hands. #bipede”
  • “The answer is to tax the robots!”
  • “Terrible. More and more people are losing their jobs for technology. But when everybody is unemployed and has no money, the economy will not grow anymore. And that is not good for business.

Boston Logistics said in a recent Tweet that they plan on showing off more of their “efforts in logistics” automation at the ProMat 2019 logistics conference taking place later this month in Chicago (April 8-11).

We suggest stopping by their booth and getting a good look at the future of warehouse logistics.

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