Automated drones can now scan packages at warehouses and are the workhorses of the e-commerce era according to a report by the BBC. Warehouses in the US are using drones to perform tasks that were earlier done by humans and saving money in the process, the report said.
“Every year companies lose billions of dollars due to misplaced items and faulty inventory records in their warehouses,” said Fadel Adib, an assistant professor of media, arts and sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the report.
Inventory management requires workers to scan items manually, which is a very time consuming and error-prone process and it has become impossible to keep track of all items in the warehouse, He added. Drones can perform the same tasks much faster than humans can, with two drones doing the work of around a 100 humans over the same time period.
Scanning accuracy of these drones is estimated to be almost close to 100% and they are also energy efficient since they use hydrogen fuel cells.
The report also said French firm Hardis Group has launched an autonomous inventory-scanning drone – EyeSee. It needs no installation, no infrastructure adaptation and no driver. The only thing to do is unpack the drone according to experts. Other companies, such as Infinium Robotics, have also developed drone scanning systems.
However the report also stated that while usage of drones for scanning packages came with cost savings and efficiency it also meant that people could lose jobs.
“The $2.3tn e-commerce industry is huge and growing, but almost 75% of e-commerce companies employ no more than four people,” the report said.
Around 89,000 shop workers in the US were laid off between October and April this year signifying a shift in the way the retail was working. Automation in various fields has led to a decrease in service level jobs. However experts feel that it does create opportunities for new jobs to emerge in the fields of artificial intelligence and automation technology.
“As automation reduces the demand for lesser qualified jobs, the need for specialized skills within the logistics sector will grow,” Ryan Bax, industry analyst for mobility at research consultancy Frost & Sullivan said.
With these robotic drones flying around warehouses already look like they are from a sci-fi movie, in the future are we going to see warehouses where human beings are entirely not existent? Only time will tell.
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