How Amazon Triggered a Robot Arms Race


An Amazon warehouse is a flurry of activity. Towering hydraulic arms lift heavy boxes toward the rafters. And an army of stubby orange robots slide along the floor like giant, sentient hockey pucks, piled high with towers of consumer gratification ranging from bestsellers to kitchenware. Those are Kiva robots, once the marvel of warehouses everywhere. Amazon whipped out its wallet and threw down 775 million to purchase these robot legions in 2012.

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