Podcast: How Automated Robots Are Supporting the Surge in E-commerce
The global pandemic has accelerated adoption of e-commerce, in many cases stretching fulfillment capacity to its limits—but a new generation of more affordable commercial robots are emerging to help retailers and manufacturers meet this growing demand. In a recent episode of Exchanges at Goldman Sachs, Goldman Sachs Research’s Heath Terry spoke with Insight Partners’ Deven Parekh, Fetch Robotics’ Melonee Wise, and Nuro.AI’s Dave Ferguson about the future of e-commerce and the role that robotic automation is playing in the adaptation of warehouse and fulfillment networks. “We’ve been developing some new features in our software to help support the pandemic, like contact tracing, social distancing tools…Now we take over most of the short movements between stations so people don’t have to interact with each other,” Wise said. She sees the much-anticipated use case of last-mile delivery as a difficult challenge for robotics, requiring a move into unstructured environments, but it’s one Nuro.AI is looking to solve by focusing on safety outside its autonomous delivery vehicles. “For us, we want to be the safest vehicle out on the roads because we should be able to, right? We don’t have people inside. We don’t care nearly as much about the eggs that are inside the vehicle as we do about the kids playing in the road. So we want to be more conservative. We want our vehicle to effectively self-sacrifice…and we can solve the entire tech challenge as a whole much, much faster,” Nuro.AI’s Dave Ferguson told Terry.