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Thursday, April 18, 2024
HomeTechnologyFedEx's Innovative Robot Efficiently Packs Delivery Trucks with 3D Tetris Skills

FedEx’s Innovative Robot Efficiently Packs Delivery Trucks with 3D Tetris Skills

Robotic systems equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) technology are poised to make their way into more workplaces, thanks to advancements in AI and machine learning. Matthew Johnson-Roberson, director of the robotics institute at Carnegie Mellon University, believes that the commercial robotics industry is just at the beginning of a major wave. One example is a robot developed by startup Dexterity for FedEx, which uses generative AI to stack and identify boxes. Each time it stacks a box, the system uses force-feedback and scanning techniques to ensure a tight fit and adjust its stacking plan. With the growth of e-commerce, robots are increasingly being utilized for tasks such as truck loading and unloading, offering greater efficiency. However, concerns about potential job displacement due to the accelerated adoption of AI and robotics remain.

The FedEx robot, built by Dexterity, is designed to address the challenges of truck unloading and loading, which occur in limited space with varying types of boxes. The system uses AI to determine ideal stacking methods, and after each placement, it evaluates the fit and adjusts its plan as needed. While the robot is still being refined, it is expected to match the speed of a skilled human in loading a truck. FedEx has already invested in robot technology from Berkshire Grey to sort parcels in some facilities. The company sees the capabilities of Dexterity’s robot as a significant development and believes that these next-generation capabilities will enhance its operations.

Despite the potential benefits of AI in robotics, concerns about job displacement arise. Technology trends like electrification and autonomous driving have already influenced labor disputes, such as the ongoing US auto worker strike. Nevertheless, the integration of AI into robotic systems presents opportunities for increasing efficiency and improving operations in various industries. FedEx is excited about the potential of these advancements and looks forward to deploying robots for additional tasks. The specific scale and timeline of the deployment remain undisclosed, as the reliability and data on the robots are still being gathered.

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