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Robots run logistics warehouse
03:11 - Source: CNN

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At online-shopping warehouse, 200 robots help workers dispatch retail orders

The robots, made by Amazon subsidiary Kiva, have a reported accuracy rate of 99.99%

They have their own names and can even find their charging station

CNN  — 

In a warehouse about the size of four football fields, more than a million units of online retail items are housed.

It is essential that all inventory is organized and easy to find, in order to get these items to their final destinations on time – that is, unless the inventory needed can be summoned on demand.

That is exactly what happens at the 25,500-square-meter Quiet Logistics fulfillment center, in Massachusetts, where 200 robots help workers prepare 10,000 to 20,000 orders for delivery every day. It uses a system designed by Amazon subsidiary Kiva that keeps track of all inventory so the robots know exactly what is on each storage unit.

“The robots job is really to move inventory from storage to the work station,” said Brian Lemerise VP of third-party fulfillment at Quiet Logistics. “Anytime someone places an order … the robot is dispatched to the storage location that has that unit and brings it to our associates to pick.”

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Kiva robots have a reported accuracy rate of 99.99%, so human error is practically eliminated in this phase of the process.

With names like Bot-Mobile, Jack-in-the-Bot, and Betty-Bot, each robot is given its own identity and its own assignments. Like a choreographed routine they move autonomously up and down the aisles of the warehouse at about 10 kilometers per hour – never missing a step, and always hitting their mark. This is made possible by the bar codes they drive over and the cameras on the bottom of the drive units, which together communicate where the bot is driving to.

They are designed to operate in tight quarters and at just 76 cm long, 64cm wide and 41 cm high, the robots are small enough to travel under the storage units, yet strong enough to lift almost a metric ton of merchandise. They can even find the charging station when their power is running low.

What keeps this mechanical workforce performing with such precision – and from crashing into