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.

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