Amazon invests over $743M in robotics across its European operations

Amazon last week provided insights into its plans to further invest in its European operations. The company is using its Vercinelli, Italy-based European Operations Innovation Lab to develop and test technologies that would better support employees and deliver for customers.

The company claimed that its lab is one of Europe’s most advanced centers for robotics innovation. Scientists and engineers there are working on advanced robotics and AI-powered innovations that Amazon said will shape the future of work across its network.

“We are proud to open the doors of our lab, not only as a hub of innovation for Amazon, but [also] to encourage customers, schools, and start-ups to be inspired and learn about the potential for technologies to create a better and safer future of work,” stated Stefano La Rovere, Amazon’s director for global robotics, mechatronics, and sustainable packaging.

“At Amazon, our commitment to thinking big runs deep – over five years to the end of 2024, we will have invested over €700 million [$744.7 million U.S.] in the deployment of more than 1,000 robotics systems across our European fulfillment center network,” he said. “In addition, the introduction of new technologies over the last 10 years has enhanced 50,000 new jobs within our operations in Europe.”

European innovation lab develops robots

Established in 2017, Amazon’s European lab serves as a hub for its global Mechatronics & Sustainable Packaging team. This team was formed in 2019 and has worked on technologies including include item sorters, pallet movers, and automated guided vehicles (AGVs).

Amazon noted that these systems play a crucial role in enhancing its network, while AI enables it to scale these advancements for global operations serving millions of customers worldwide.

“The lab is host to a diverse and international team of engineers and scientists dedicated to finding innovative ways to enhance everyday tasks for our employees, providing a safer workplace while consistently delivering for our customers,” Stefano said.

New technologies mean new roles, says Amazon

According to Amazon, with each technology comes different skill requirements, and in many cases the creation of new specific roles. The company said it has enhanced more than 50,000 jobs in fulfillment centers across Europe by introducing new technologies over the past decade.

These technologies support employees in their roles and provide them with a safer working environment and upskilling opportunities. At the same time, robotics and AI-powered innovation improves price, selection, and convenience for Amazon’s customers.

The company said this is one of the factors that enabled it to deliver to Prime members at its fastest speeds ever in 2023. Amazon delivered more than 7 billion units the same or the next day, including more than 4 billion in the U.S. and more than 2 billion in Europe.

The lab also serves as a training center for Amazon Robotics operators and a testing ground for startups receiving funding and guidance through the Amazon Industrial Innovation Fund. Starting in 2024, the lab will be open for public tours, offering customers, schools, or anyone interested in Amazon’s innovations.

You can learn about Amazon’s latest innovation in the slideshow below: 

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See Amazon at the Robotics Summit & Expo

Tye Brady, chief technologist at Amazon Robotics, will be keynoting the 2024 Robotics Summit & Expo, which will May 1 and 2 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. He will examine how the e-commerce leader has worked internally and with partners to develop and deploy technologies including mobile robots, automated storage, AI, and humanoid robots.

Amazon will also discuss its criteria for success and how it is striving to continually innovate. Registration is now open for the event.


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