Just in time for Cyber Monday, Amazon announced this morning that it is prepping for the holiday rush by recruiting over 80,000 part-time workers, a 14 percent spike over last year. But in addition to those human pickers, the online retailer is also employing a whole cadre of technological elves (i.e., robots) to ensure that your gifts arrive for the holidays just in time.
In its announcement, the company noted that it is now employing over 15,000 Kiva robots at 10 of its 50 fulfillment centers across the country. Since the North Reading-based company was acquired by Amazon for $775 million in 2012, Kiva System’s small orange bots have become an essential component of the fast-paced warehouse environment. They maneuver “magic shelves” full of hundreds of pounds of merchandise, whizzing across the warehouse floors delivering items directly to human pickers at an incredible clip.
In addition to the Kiva robots, Amazon is also employing a massive Robo-Stow arm, a Herculean device that can lift pallets of merchandise from floor to floor. According to Wired, these technological aides will help push the cutoff for same-day delivery from noon to later in the day, and will help the overall efficiency of the company this holiday season. No word though, on whether sleighs and reindeer might someday be replaced by drones.
Watch a video of Amazon’s holiday robot arsenal below.