Seattle - Amazon on Wednesday said it hopes to expand drone delivery into Britain and Italy by late next year, as it unveiled new warehouse robots and tech in its race to get shoppers what they want quickly.
The Seattle-based e-commerce colossus said it will expand drone delivery of certain purchases to a third US state as well as to the two European countries by the end of 2024.
Amazon delivery drones are already at work in California and Texas, and a new MK30 model will be able to operate in more extreme weather conditions than those currently in use, Amazon Prime Air vice president David Carbon said during a marketing event.
Amazon has also installed a new robotics system called Sequoia in one of its Texas logistics centers, the company said.
The system features automated vehicles, gantry cranes, mechanical arms, computer vision technologies and ergonomic workstations for employees, a presentation showed.
Amazon already uses 750,000 robots in its warehouses, but the idea is to make the various machines more interoperable, according to executives.
"It becomes magical when you blend multiple robotics systems with our amazing people," said Amazon Robotics chief technologist Tye Brady.
Sequoia can identify and put away stock in warehouses "up to 75 percent faster" than was previously possible, the company said in a statement.
And order processing time can be reduced by 25 percent in best-case scenarios.
"This means we can list items on sale on Amazon.com more quickly, benefitting both sellers and customers," Amazon maintained.
Traditional brick-and-mortar stores still account for about 80 percent of retail business, but the closer Amazon gets to giving shoppers immediate gratification with purchases the more sales will shift online, analysts said.
"The better they get at delivery, the more it continues to grow the e-commerce market overall and Amazon's place within that market," said Insider Intelligence analyst Andrew Lipsman.
The popular online shopping platform became a lifeline for many during the pandemic, but since this year it has been facing a new kind of competition from Chinese e-commerce apps.
Shein, which specializes in fashion items, and especially Temu, which offers beauty products, homeware and electronics, have won over many consumers with their low prices.
"Given how aggressively Temu is trying to compete with Amazon and the money they seem to be willing to spend on logistics and getting cheap goods to people, I'm sure Amazon has some level of concern," Lipsman said.
Wednesday's presentation also focused on collaboration between robots and humans.
Without specifying whether jobs would be lost through the use of robots, Amazon emphasized the gains in terms of safety, sparing workers from repetitive tasks and even creating jobs.
"Over the past ten years, we have installed hundreds of thousands of robotic systems while creating hundreds of thousands of jobs," the group stressed.(AFP)