Amazon.com Inc. is an e-commerce heavyweight, and it has been developing and deploying robots to help carry that weight. The Seattle-based company today introduced its Titan mobile robot, which can lift up to 2,500 lb. (1,133.9 kg). Titan is designed to safely and efficiently carry products across Amazon’s fulfillment centers, it said.
“Titan builds off over a decade of innovations in mobile robotics at Amazon, and [it] can lift up to two times more weight than Hercules, the most broadly deployed robot within our operations,” wrote Cosette Jarrett in an Amazon blog post. “With all that strength, Titan’s first task will be to carry larger, bulkier items like small household appliances or pallets of pet food and gardening equipment.”
Hercules has a capacity of 1,250 lb. (566.9 kg) and can travel across Amazon’s 1 million-sq.-ft. facilities. The company claimed that Titan will improve workplace safety and efficiency.
Titan begins operations at Texas facility
Amazon said its SAT1 fulfillment center in San Antonio, Texas, is the first to deploy Titan. It will work with other robots, eliminating the need for employees to walk long distances or move heavy objects and allowing people to focus on new tasks, the company said.
In addition, Amazon said it is examining the potential for Titan to work with its Sequoia containerization technology.
Amazon added that it has deployed more than 750,000 robots in its warehouses around the world. It said “recordable incident rates and lost-time incident rates were 15% and 18% lower, respectively, at Amazon Robotics sites than they were at its non-robotics sites in 2022.”
Amazon keeps adding to robot fleet
Titan joins Amazon’s growing fleet of robots, which included the automated guided vehicles (AGVs) it acquired with Kiva Systems in 2012. In 2014, Amazon deployed Atlas, which could move totes weighing up to 750 lb. (340.1 kg).
In 2017, the company released Hercules, which it has continued to update. Amazon’s Pegasus mobile robot includes a conveyor. Last year, the company unveiled Proteus, its first fully autonomous mobile robot (AMR).
In April, the company announced that its Robin robot arm had handled 1 billion packages. Xanthus is a smaller mobile robot designed to carry smaller, individual items across facilities.
Amazon was reportedly testing robots to move large items in October 2022. Titan includes technologies from Amazon’s previous mobile robots, such as the battery and charging management of Hercules and the computer vision, obstacle detection, and user controls of Xanthus.
Amazon said it also used hardware components from Proteus to manage Titan’s operating system “as it plans, executes, and interfaces with other technologies.”
The company explained that its strategy of in-house robot development “creates jobs and helps us iterate, scale, and deploy new technologies faster.” By taking Kiva off the market, Amazon helped spur the development of other startups in the AMR space, noted industry observers.
Amazon manufactures robots such as Titan at its innovation hub in Westborough, Mass., where it has tested Proteus for mapping and the Sparrow system for picking and inventory management. The company has another innovation hub near Seattle where it is testing technologies such as the MK30 delivery drones.