Amazon Could Save Big on Order Fulfillment with Warehouse Robots

Robots are a hot topic lately with Amazon announcing new plans for delivery drones and Google’s rollout of a new robotics division. But Amazon has revealed even more robot minions that can speed up delivery times.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Amazon has big plans for some small robots it acquired back in March 2012. These robots can be used to deliver shelves stocked with merchandise to warehouse workers within fulfillment centers, rather than workers going to look for the items themselves. 

Amazon bought a company called Kiva Systems in March 2012 for $775 million, which is where these orange, bottom feeder-looking robots came from. Amazon said in its third quarter earnings report that it now has 1,400 Kiva robots in three of its warehouses.

Kiva Systems’ robots [SOURCE: Bloomberg News]
Shawn Milne, a Janney Capital Markets analyst, said these robots could save Amazon a lot of money. In fact, the robots could take 20-40 percent off the typical $3.50 to $3.75 cost of fulfilling an average order. 

He added that a “broad” rollout of Kiva robots could save Amazon $458 million to $916 million annually in the area of warehouse efficiencies.

Last week, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said he wanted to use unmanned “Prime Air” drones for small package delivery. The speedy delivery system would pick up packages up to five pounds in weight and deliver them directly to customers’ homes or businesses in about thirty minutes. 

Only days later, Andy Rubin — the Google executive responsible for the Android operating system — said he plans to develop real humanoid robots that will one day perform functions in the areas of manufacturing and retail.