When you think of humanoid robots, you might think of an army of T-800s from “Terminator” or C-3PO from “Star Wars.” You probably don’t think of shapewear. But women’s clothing brand Spanx is using a robot to work in its Georgia warehouse — and this robot looks awfully human-like.
While it might not look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, its bipedal bots feature arms and legs and other features that help it navigate a warehouse. According to the company behind the robot, GXO Logistics, it’s built to “work in human spaces and can be easily adapted to various warehouse tasks through software updates.”
Meet the newest employee at Spanx’s warehouse
Standing at 5 feet 9 inches tall, the same height as the aforementioned C-3PO, and featuring the ability to lift 35 pounds, “Digit” is built to work in a warehouse. In fact, that’s what the humanoid robot was built for.
What duties can the robot perform inside the factory?
According to GXO, Digit works on repetitive tasks. Warehouse employees might notice it moving totes or placing boxes on a conveyor belt. Right now, the robot is just working in Spanx’s facility in Flowery Branch, Georgia, with the goal of reducing strain. GXO is calling it a “proof-of-concept pilot.”
Ideally, the robot would complete simple duties for human workers. Instead of moving boxes, a Spanx warehouse employee can have Digit take care of the task. They would then be able to tackle a more advanced task.
Digit is always working to do those repetitive tasks faster and better. GXO says it uses regular software updates to make sure the robot is performing optimally.
What does it cost to run the robot?
So far, GXO says Digit has been helping. They say employees who’ve worked with Digit are happier and more satisfied with their jobs. And it’s cheaper than employing another person. According to Bloomberg News, it reportedly costs $10-$12 an hour to run Digit.
Again, Digit is in the pilot phase. GXO says if things continue to go well, the robot could have an expanded role in the new year.
Kurt’s key takeaways
While the John Connors of the world are safe for now, warehouse jobs might not be. ARK Invest CEO Cathie Wood predicts that robot workers could outnumber human workers at Amazon within the next seven years. So, in theory, Digit could be taking jobs. But we could see the roles of humans in warehouses evolve. Sure, human workers might not be needed to place totes on a conveyor belt, but they might be needed to program a robot or make repairs.
Do you think robots could replace human workers one day? Are there any jobs that you think could go away completely because of robots? Let us know by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact.
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