Amazon is sinking a pile of cash into developing human-like robots

Amazon announced a billion-dollar industry innovation fund, which will help fund companies and startups at all stages of customer satisfaction, logistics and supply chain technology.

“We see an opportunity to look beyond our own experience and empower companies that are developing emerging technologies in customer processing operations, logistics and supply chain,” the e-commerce giant said. .

“We know there are companies out there that share our curiosity and enthusiasm to invent. Whether our investment helps them grow or leads them to work with Amazon, or both, we’re excited to help advance these technologies, as online shopping becomes even more important for people looking for convenience and time saving.

The first batch of companies that Amazon will fund include Agility Robotics, which makes bipedal robots for warehouses. The company will receive $150 million from Amazon and others.

Other startups that will benefit from the program include Modjoul, which makes wearable security technology; Vimaan, which uses computer vision to manage inventory; BionicHIVE, an automated shelf stacking robotics startup; and Mantis Robotics, which is developing a tactile robot arm.

E-commerce is expensive

News of the billion-dollar fund comes after Amazon CEO Andy Jassy underscored his commitment to improving the safety of the company’s workers, in response to a recent study which showed that its workers are twice as likely to be injured as its competitors.

“These industries are inherently complex,” said Amazon’s Alex Ceballos. “With our scale, Amazon is committed to investing in companies that will drive innovation in emerging technologies that can help improve employee experience and safety while seamlessly coexisting with workforces across the supply chain. supply, logistics and other industries.”

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Spending $1 billion is a drop in the ocean for Amazon, which generated nearly $470 billion in revenue in 2021.

But the competitive advantage of being early in funding startups that help create efficiencies in its sprawling warehouses could prove invaluable.

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