Watch thousands of robots pack groceries in a warehouse


Interestingly they are facing resistance in the U.S.

“U.S. players such as Walmart are focusing on cheaper low tech warehouses as they can afford more of them, closer to customers, rather than the high tech sheds favored by Ocado and Chinese players.”

I would think that Amazon would be a prime investor / buyer of the technology in their effort to enter dominate the U.S. grocery wars.


Amazon has a division entirely devoted to the development of warehouse automation:


Three videos and I still did not see how a crate was lifted up from the grid by/into a robot. Yeah, robots buzzing around and groovy ambient music - very effing impressive, but not highly explanatory. Sometimes video directors/producers of things like this forget about what the audience might be interested in and assume we’re all hypnotised and gobsmacked by the superficial - in this case just by lots of little square R2D2s running around.


Am I the only one who wonders where the workers went?


I was wondering the same too: since they drop stuff in the box out in the middle, what now?

Do the crates then drop down to another level to get fed to a conveyor? Do they then pick up the box again and take it back somewhere?

At around the 1:29 mark on the 2nd video you can see a robot in the foreground picking up a create to its innards.

Then, early in the 3rd video you can see the control software has a view with a couple of outbound looking conveyors on the left side.

So this grid is just the storeroom for all the items while the pickers shown in the first video at 2:30 do the grabbing from the crates that get brought by the square runner bots.

It all seems like strangely inefficient way to pack a box of the robots run around only with full crates and can’t drop individual items.


My only question is, can they be reprogrammed to engage in a winner-take-all demolition derby?


“No one ever goes in and no one ever comes out.”

R. Dahl


This will be hacked.

I’d settle for a game of Bomberman. Even checkers would do.

I suspect they went the same way the Camperforce is likely to go. In most articles describing their work, it sounds like they are filling in for the gaps in technology. Once Amazon’s robots are good enough to replace the Workampers, they’ll vanish too.

I’m old enough to remember when we didn’t use the word “vanish” to describe people.


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Yeah, those were the good old days.

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It would seem like utter insanity to rely on cell modems when you control the roof just a short distance above them(clearly festooned with other cabling).

That said, the antenna collection looks a trifle diverse. One slightly longer one; two paddle-shaped ones on the corners; doesn’t look like the two types are serving the same purpose. I’d assume that at least one is a link from drone to mothership; I’d be curios to know if there is drone-drone communication or sensing going on; or if it’s blind, atomic, individuals kept in harmony only by the will and design of the controller; like Leibnitz’s monads eking out a living in the post-industrial service economy.

I don’t understand what’s so bad about going to a store and talking to the lady at the checkout counter, maybe even smiling at each other.

I want to select my own produce.

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The grocery wars continue…

“Ocado believes Kroger to be the grocer best-positioned to win in US grocery and will discontinue discussions with other US-based retailers,” the companies said in a statement.

“The deal should help Kroger compete with Amazon (AMZN), which has entered the grocery delivery market in a big way.”

A longer - and much geekier - video has more detail:

Seems they are using the 4G physical layer (orthogonal frequency domain multiple access, OFDMA) within the barn, but then spinning their own code on top.

This video also gives (even if only by background glimpses) a bit more info on how the system works - the wheelie bots dropping their picks down to a lower level, then robot arms packing the selections. After all the marketing bullshit vids, nice to actually hear the background noise of our impending robot overlords rolling around - at least they’re constrained to a grid for now, wonder if any of the staff have programmed overnight PacMan simulations?
(don’t be stupid, of course they have… :rofl:)

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