Amazon isn't taking any chances with our future robotic overlords. To show that it's willing to play ball under a mechanical regime, Jeff Bezos recently went on "60 Minutes" and unveiled plans to use delivery drones to drop off packages to flesh and blood customers (or "servants," as robots will call them after the uprising). Of course, the logistics of drones is still a ways off, but in the interim, Amazon is turning to robot helpers in its warehouses.
The e-commerce site is putting to use its acquisition of Kiva Systems, a company that builds these robot things that can zip shelves full of merchandise across the warehouse floor to workers as opposed to the other way around. It's already happened in Amazon's Seattle area warehouses, which the company expects their use to translate in up to $916 million in savings for one year of service.
If Amazon can indeed save that much, the Kiva Systems acquisition will have paid for itself, and then some. Amazon acquired the company for $775 million in March 2012 and is finally putting its purchase to use. According to Amazon's third quarter earnings report, it has about 1,400 Kiva robots dutifully shuttling packages to and fro in three of its warehouses.
Here's a video of the little orange Kiva robots at work:
One of the challenges Amazon faces is that of logistics. Its warehouses were designed to accommodate human workers, not robots. In addition to implementing them in its own warehouses, Amazon can potentially make a ton of money selling Kiva robots to customers. Prior to the acquisition, a Kiva kit would run about $2 million, and as much as $20 million for larger installations.