Rise of the robots: What advances mean for workers
It’s about the size and shape of a photocopier.
Emitting a gentle whirring noise, it travels across the warehouse floor while two arms raise or lower themselves on scissor lifts, ready for the next task.
Each arm has a camera on its knuckle. The left one eases a cardboard box forward on the shelf, the right reaches in and extracts a bottle.
Like many new robots, it’s from Japan. Hitachi showcased it in 2015 and hopes to be selling it by 2020.
It’s not the only robot that can pick a bottle off a shelf – but it’s as close as robots have yet come to performing this seemingly simple task as speedily and dextrously as a good old-fashioned human.
One day, robots like this might replace warehouse workers altogether.
For now, humans and machines run warehouses together.