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Rakuten calls in the robots to US warehouses

By Dan Wilson May 11, 2018 - 6:28 am

Rakuten is going cyber with the introduction of whizzy robots in its US warehouses. inVia Robotics says it is the provider of the next generation of robotics warehouse automation solutions for ecommerce fulfilment.

It has been revealed that Rakuten Super Logistics (RSL) has deployed inVia’s autonomous warehouse robotics technology at its Nevada operations in the USA. With the inVia Picker robots and cloud-based Robotics-as-a-Service (RaaS) management system, the company expects to increase its ecommerce fulfillment and warehouse productivity by more than 300% as the solution scales with data collection and optimisation.

For RSL and our broad array of clients, inVia Robotics presents an exciting opportunity to scale demand, manage costs and improve inventory accuracy utilizing a RaaS model. Our partnership with inVia is indicative of our company’s commitment to providing clients with state-of-the-art technology designed to maximize efficiency and minimize costs.
– Michael Manzione, RSL’s Chief Executive Officer

The use of robots in ecommerce warehouses is not particularly unusual and it would be interesting to learn exactly what the Rakuten automata are actually doing in the fulfilment environment. At Amazon, the robots bring the shelves on wheels directly to the pickers and, in many cases, that makes it much easier for the human people employees to manually ensure that the goods are packed and sent correctly.

There can be no doubt that we’re going to see more automation, cyborgs and robotics, and tech and many things we haven’t imagined yet, involved in ecommerce. Amazon, and now Rakuten, are clearly imagining robots and others will be critical too.

Is this a cause for pessimism? After all, the mechanical creatures will always need maintenance and, the way things are going, perhaps love. Did Asimov have the right idea?

Looking around the world it seems to us that human labour is the easiest option and remains cheap and plentiful whilst robots are expensive. We keep a watching brief.

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