The Robotic Tech Vest, which was rolled out over the course of the last year to over 25 locations, appears to be an electric utility belt attached to a pair of suspenders, reports TechCrunch, but it has built-in sensors that alert robots of a human’s presence.
The belts are designed to work in coordinated fashion with the robots’ obstacle detection systems, according to TechCrunch.
According to Amazon, the company’s robots, which number over 100,000, are designed to assist humans with the transportation of packages and the movement of large pallets of inventory, among other tasks. Although there are widespread fears that robots will displace human workers, Amazon has added more than 300,000 full-time jobs globally since robots were introduced to its warehouses in 2012.
“Robots increase efficiency and safety at fulfillment centers. They make it possible to store 40 percent more inventory, which in turn makes it easier to fulfill Amazon Prime and other orders on time since it’s less likely an item will run out,” the company said in a blog post.
The company said the new high-tech belt are an improvement upon several existing safety systems.
“In the past, associates would mark out the grid of cells where they would be working in order to enable the robotic traffic planner to smartly route around that region. What the vest allows the robots to do is detect the human from farther away and smartly update its travel plan to steer clear without the need for the associate to explicitly mark out those zones,” Amazon Robotics VP Brad Porter told TechCrunch.
In December, two dozen Amazon factory workers were hospitalized after being sprayed with bear repellant in an incident involving a robot.
Fox News reached out to Amazon for comment on this high-tech belt.
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An Amazon fulfillment center employee is seen above, working with a robot. (Amazon) Amazon workers are now wearing safety belts to prevent accidents involving the robots that prowl the tech giant’s cavernous warehouses. The Robotic Tech Vest, which was rolled out over the course of the last year to over 25 locations, appears to be an...