In a bid to enhance operational efficiency, delivery speed, and safety across its warehouses, Amazon is rolling out a new robotics system called Sequoia. This AI-driven technology, recognized as Sequoia, has the potential to accelerate product locating and storage speed by a staggering 75 percent and bolster order completion by up to 25 percent, as detailed by the Wall Street Journal.
This cutting-edge system has already been deployed in one of Amazon’s facilities situated in Houston.
Sequoia operates through vehicles transporting product totes to a sorting mechanism. Leveraging robotic arms and advanced computer vision, it identifies inventory before dispatching it to workers for distribution. Amazon claims that Sequoia’s design ensures workers receive items at waist level, eliminating the need for them to reach high shelves, thereby enhancing safety.
Following the warehouse introduction of Sparrow in 2022, a robotic arm utilizing AI to identify and handle remaining products, Sequoia continues Amazon’s pursuit of efficiency and safety.
Despite emphasizing safety improvements through Sequoia and Sparrow, Amazon’s safety track record in this domain raises concerns. A 2020 report from the Center for Investigative Reporting’s Reveal publication highlighted that employees working alongside automated robots in Amazon warehouses experienced double the injury rate compared to those not working in such environments.
Amazon has contested this data publicly. The introduction of robots also amplified the workload for employees, requiring them to scan up to 400 items per hour compared to the previous 100. Additionally, the potential impact of Sequoia’s implementation on employment remains uncertain.