While the images of Boston Dynamics' Atlas and Handle—the two robots who apparently perform their tasks with unstoppable drive (and wheels!)—may be seared into your neurons, there are other, less Skynet-ish bots who're also up-and-coming in the warehouse milieu. They're called HIKVISION 1080s, and they've already been deployed by one of China's largest couriers. Looking like little orange toasters that take after Frank Martin from The Transporter, they know in their very cores that "Transportation is a precise business."
The army of little orange bots, which have been deployed (employed?) by China's STO Express, has been tasked with sorting and moving packages, and they're so good at it, it's like they were built for this job.
[Insert: An HIKVISION 1080 delivering a tumbleweed across the warehouse floor here...]
Seriously though, these little sorters are exceptionally good at what they do. The Daily Mail reports that "A team of 300 bots can sort 20,000 parcels an hour or 200,000 parcels a day," and that this helps STO Express to "save 70 percent [on] manpower in the 21,000-square-foot-warehouse."
The little autonomous Orange Flavor Tic Tacs on wheels use QR codes and cameras in order to stay on the right track and deliver their parcels to the right drop-off points. The packages are taken from human sorters and eventually chucked—they tip their little caps, it's very cute—into a hole, and then presumably taken to
another galaxy a delivery truck.
Despite the HIKVISION 1080s' significant warehouse presence—and apparent status as an omen for proving this crazy paper on the future of autonomy in the workforce to be correct—what's most striking about watching these little cochinillas naranjas on wheels is how closely they resemble what autonomous traffic may look like in just a few years. That CGP Grey video on the tech replacing human drivers looks pretty familiar in this case, doesn't it?
What do you think about these little robot sorters? Deliver your thoughts to the right comment box below!
Images: YouTube / People's Daily, China