industry news
Subscribe Now

Amazon Develops Algorithm to Improve Collaboration Between Robots and Humans

Adoption at Fulfillment Centers Result in Savings of Half a Billion Dollars

New Study Key Takeaways:

  • A new algorithm is identified to allow robots and humans to work together efficiently and profitably.
  • Robots bring shelves of inventory to associates to pick for customer orders.
  • The adoption of the algorithm cuts down on distance traveled by pods as well as the storage footprint for the company.
  • The fulfillment operation with the new algorithm results in a half a billion dollars in savings.

BALTIMORE, MD, February 27, 2023 – Amazon has identified a financially beneficial way for robots and humans to coexist, and it’s saving the online enterprise half a billion dollars per year. Using robots to bring shelves of inventory to associates to pick customer orders cuts down the distance traveled by robots and decreases the company’s storage footprint.

A common fear is that artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics will put Americans out of work, but that may not be the case – new research in the INFORMS Journal on Applied Analytics is using the science of operations research (O.R.) to enable humans and robots to work together more effectively.

The study, “Algorithm for Robotic Picking in Amazon Fulfillment Centers Enables Humans and Robots to Work Together Effectively,” shows the work done to redesign the robotic picking algorithm used in Amazon Robotics (AR) fulfillment centers (FCs).

“Rather than associates going to the product shelves to pick for a customer order shipment or stow new inventory, robots bring shelves of inventory to associates who are at workstations either picking or stowing items,” says Russell Allgor of Amazon.

The picking algorithm decides which specific units of inventory on which pods should be picked to fulfill customer order shipments. The algorithm reduced the distance traveled by pods by 62% without negative operational impact. This has now been implemented in all Amazon Robotics FCs.

“This improvement reduced the number of drives required in AR FCs by 31%, which amounted to half a billion dollars in savings,” continued Allgor.

Allgor, alongside his co-authors Tolga Cezik and Daniel Chen, both of Amazon, says that by implementing AR FCs as the standard for new fulfillment centers, Amazon has also reduced their storage footprint by about 29% when compared with non-AR FCs. This translates to more efficient use of space and a more productive human workforce.

Link to full study.

About INFORMS and INFORMS Journal on Applied Analytics

INFORMS Journal on Applied Analytics is a premier peer-reviewed scholarly journal focused on the practice of operations research and management science and the impact this practice has on organizations throughout the world. It is published by INFORMS, the leading international association for operations research and analytics professionals. More information is available at or @informs.

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Mar 23, 2023
Explore AI chip architecture and learn how AI's requirements and applications shape AI optimized hardware design across processors, memory chips, and more. The post Why AI Requires a New Chip Architecture appeared first on New Horizons for Chip Design....
Mar 22, 2023
There are few things that get me more excited (at work) than an awesome CFD solution. And as a frugal engineer, I'm all about being efficient. Here's a CFD simulation that doubles down on efficiency. NASA E3 In the early 1980s, NASA's Energy Efficient Engine (E...
Mar 10, 2023
A proven guide to enable project managers to successfully take over ongoing projects and get the work done!...

featured video

First CXL 2.0 IP Interoperability Demo with Compliance Tests

Sponsored by Synopsys

In this video, Sr. R&D Engineer Rehan Iqbal, will guide you through Synopsys CXL IP passing compliance tests and demonstrating our seamless interoperability with Teladyne LeCroy Z516 Exerciser. This first-of-its-kind interoperability demo is a testament to Synopsys' commitment to delivering reliable IP solutions.

Learn more about Synopsys CXL here

featured chalk talk

Challenges of Multi-Connectivity Asset Tracking
Multi-connectivity asset tracking is a critical element of our modern supply chain. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Colin Ramrattan and Manuel Cantone from STMicroelectronics and Amelia Dalton discuss the common needs required for asset tracking today, why low power processing is vital for these kind of applications, and how STMicroelectronics ASTRA platform can help you get started on your next asset tracking design.
Feb 20, 2023