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The science of robotics has long been critical to manufacturing. It has had less of a presence in the logistics sector, where automation has often taken the form of state-of-the-art conveyors, sorters and systems limited to directing the picking process. One reason for the disparity is safety. Another is cost. But all that might be about to change. New robots are being developed that can perform some of the numbingly repetitive tasks that have been the responsibility of humans. One of the newest companies on the scene is Fetch Robotics, which has developed two models of robots that can pick from inventory and efficiently move items to the shipping area. On this episode, we speak with Fetch chief executive officer Melonee Wise, who traces the development of robotics in logistics environments. She also discusses the changing public perception of robots, which in their early days were seen as a threat to the jobs (and even the lives) of people. Only in the last decade or so, she says, has that view begun to change. Increasingly, robots are being developed that can work side by side with humans. But just how smart are these machines? And are they fated to edge out people entirely? Hosted by Bob Bowman, Managing Editor of SupplyChainBrain.
Look for a new episode of the podcast, which can be downloaded or streamed, every Friday on the SupplyChainBrain website and iTunes.
Show notes: An article about robotics in Amazon.com warehouses.
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