The idea that automation could eliminate the need for human labor may not be realized as soon as some might fear, but it may be getting closer.
Chinese shipping company Shenton Express has begun using small sorting robots made by robotics company Hikvision at a warehouse in Hangzhou in eastern China. The small orange robots are about the size of a seat cushion and zoom around the warehouse floor, taking packages where they need to go. A video shows a human worker placing a package on top of each little bot, which then scans the item and carries it to where it needs to be in the sorting center, flips is lid over, and deposits the package into a chute so it can move on to the next phase of shipping.
The self-charging robots can work 24/7 and sort up to 200,000 packages a day. A spokesman for Shenton Express said the little guys cut the warehouse’s labor costs in half and improved efficiency by 30 percent.