Amazon's (AMZN) robotics operation has been more than a decade in the making — but every single robot it builds comes from one place, the company's Amazon Robotics facility in Boston.
The Boston location started its life as a Kiva facility. The Massachusetts-based company, founded in 2003, was acquired by Amazon for $775 million in 2012. The purchase kicked off Amazon's decadelong effort to become the leader in warehouse robotics.
In the video above, 10 Amazon technicians assemble Hercules robots, which were some of Amazon's first warehouse robots. Though one Hercules unit can be built and tested in less than 90 minutes, these robots are used to transport products throughout the fulfillment centers, and can lift up to 1,250 pounds.
Robots are key to Amazon's push to improve safety in its warehouses — a growing concern among advocacy groups in recent years — and to the company's financial future. The margins in Amazon's retail business have long been a point of concern on Wall Street. Robots, which can work 24 hours a day, are likely to offer a way forward.
But Amazon's robotic ambitions also lie outside its warehouses. The company is in the process of trying to acquire Roomba maker iRobot for $1.7 billion. The deal, announced in 2022, has run into regulatory scrutiny. Amazon told Yahoo Finance that there is no relationship between the company's Roomba buyout and its warehouse robotics operation.
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