Amazon is apparently starting to replace people with machines.
The e-commerce giant is adding machines for packing people’s orders to some of its warehouses, Reuters reported Monday, citing two anonymous sources who worked on the project.
These Italian-made CartonWrap machines apparently scan items as they move along a conveyor belt and pack them in custom-built boxes. They can pack 600 to 700 boxes per hour — four to five times the speed of a human, Reuters noted.
“We are piloting this new technology with the goal of increasing safety, speeding up delivery times, and adding efficiency across our network,” an Amazon spokesperson said in an emailed statement.
“We expect the efficiency savings will be re-invested in new services for customers, where new jobs will continue to be created.”
The company looked into putting two of these $1 million machines into dozens more warehouses, Reuters reported, which would replace at least 24 human workers at each one.
Back, Paul Misener, Amazon’s vice president of global innovation, argued that automation and hiring go “hand in hand” for the company, and the increased efficiency benefits everyone.
First published at 5:45 a.m. PT.
Updated at 6:04 a.m. PT: Adds more detail.