Order something on Amazon for Cyber Monday? It could reach you sooner thanks to some local technical wizardry.
Amazon recently opened up its state-of-the-art robotics facility in Massachusetts to show off some of the newest robots that are working to make home delivery even faster.
Amazon robots are designed, made and tested at BOS27 in Westborough, whose vice president of Amazon Robotics, Scott Dresser, billed it as "the largest industrial robotics manufacturer in the world."
Between the Westborough and North Reading production lines, they've produced more than half a million robots, Dresser said.
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He's excited about their newest robot Sparrow: “The thing that's unique about Sparrow is its ability to pick up and manipulate and handle the items that customers order off the website.”
Sparrow uses artificial intelligence so it can recognize and handle millions of items. It uses little suction cups to pick up and transfer items into bins that will be sent off for packaging.
Earlier this month they showcased all the latest tech at Amazon at an event called “Delivering the Future.” It included upgrades to little robots that lift and move heavy carts around warehouses.
Amazon set up a virtual neighborhood in the back of BOS27 to show off some of the latest tech in “last mile,” the last leg of delivery that takes the package from a distribution center to your doorstep.
“Last mile plays a big role in the holiday season because it's that final leg of the journey where a package gets to the customer's doorsteps," said Beryl Tomay, Amazon’s vice president of Last Mile Technologies.
That included showing off electric-powered delivery vans designed by Rivian. They were launched in the Boston area this fall and loaded with safety features, including sensors and cameras that help the driver avoid accidents.
They also showed off an experimental delivery drone called Prime Air that can carry and deliver boxes that weigh up to 5 lbs. The plan is for the 80-pound drones to deliver items to your house in one hour.
Amazon plans on testing out drone delivery in two communities in Texas and California by the end of this year with the ultimate goal of expanding across the country.