The online retail boom means more warehouse workers and robots to accompany them.

Robots move racks of merchandise at an Amazon fulfillment center in Tracy, Calif. When a robot finds its storage unit, it glides underneath, lifts it up and then delivers it to a worker

The online retail boom means more warehouse workers and robots to accompany them.

What you buy online is likely to be in the hands of the “chooser” first. These are the workers in the warehouse. They pick, pack and ship everything we order.

At amazon and other companies, they work side by side with robots. Although robots are replacing some human workers, experts say the machines are not yet ready to take over.

In order to keep up with the growing demand for fast delivery, the distribution industry is recruiting more buyers. In the suburbs of the bay area, a school is using technology to train students to do the new jobs.

Paterson high school is about two hours east of San Francisco. It is surrounded by farmland in the central California valley, which produces half of the country’s fruit, vegetables and nuts. But the students did not learn how to become farmers. They are working in the warehouse.

Outside the field and into computer science.

All technical considerations

Outside the field and into computer science.

Recently, Ms. Hilario Garcia was instructing a student to sit on a virtual reality forklift simulator. The machine is part of a mock warehouse built for vocational courses to train students like Justin Lockhart.

He says he appreciates the fact that there is such a course, especially in a farming town. “It has now become a big logistics and distribution hub,” says Lockhart, including an amazon plant. The giant online retailer operates one of a dozen distribution centers.

Stanislaus county has been struggling with unemployment. But since 2000, warehouse and transportation jobs have more than doubled, from 4,000 to more than 9,000. The workers keep the flow of goods to their customers, most of them in richer urban areas in the north and west.

Kiva robots maneuver around one of Amazon’s newest distribution centers on Sunday in Tracy, Calif.

Mariela Zepeda works at the local CVS distribution center. Her nimble fingers slipped from the bottle into the condom box. She must act quickly to make these orders. The company followed her progress.

“It’s a hard job, but it definitely beats fast food chains or something like that,” she said.

After the amazon agreement: how does whole food shopping feel?


After the amazon agreement: how does whole food shopping feel?

First, pay better. Zepeda, a part-time college student, says she earns $14.79 an hour. The company advertised an entry-level hourly wage of $11 to $14, sometimes with benefits. Zepeda says it’s a good start, but it’s not that you can support a family job – not Patterson. It’s close to the bay area, which means housing isn’t cheap.

“Myself… Maybe I can go away, “zeppada said. “But if you want to feed a family, absolutely not, I don’t think so. I think a lot of places are like that.”

Shelley Burcham is Tracy’s economic development manager, and Tracy is Paterson’s other distribution center for 30 minutes. “We know that citizens need these entry-level jobs, or that’s their skills,” she said. “But we want to play well.”

Burcham wants to work and Tracy can build a community. Payments are enough to make people own homes and support their families here. Work in technical and high-skill manufacturing industries. Currently, most people who live in Tracy don’t work here.

“About 70 percent of our labor force actually goes from Tracy to work every day,” Burcham said. “They went to the bay area.”

Amazon releases the robot army to send your holiday packages more quickly.

All technical considerations

Amazon releases the robot army to send your holiday packages more quickly.

Paterson and Tracy are just two of the many small towns that have become centers of distribution to feed affluent urban centers. Outside New York City, New York, New York City’s Los Angeles river and other areas. While the company continues to hire human buyers for their warehouses, they also automate their work.

Tracy’s amazon performance center is huge – about a million square feet, or the size of 28 football fields. Visiting it is like walking through a giant machine. Thousands of miles of conveyor belts move countless yellow plastic boxes with customers’ orders.

“It’s part of the amazon symphony,” said amazon spokesman ASHLEY Robinson. (amazon is one of NPR’s financial backers.)

Only the conductor of this symphony is the computer. It tracks everything in the warehouse and gives it to you and the consumer as quickly as possible.

The robots carry goods shelves at amazon’s amazon fulfillment center in Tracy, California. When the robot finds its storage unit, it slides down below, lifts it up and delivers it to the worker.

Justin Sullivan/getty images.

The orange robot, which looks like a large square hockey puck, allows customers to order things online. The robots slide through the maze of thousands of storage units around the warehouse – shelves full of all kinds of things: books, paper towels, board games or zombies.

When a robot finds its storage unit, it slides down below, lifts it up and passes it to the worker-they are known as the pickup. On a recent day, the computer told a selector to grab what looks like a fantasy board game. The pickup finds it, scans it and puts it on the conveyor belt.

“In a traditional fulfillment center, employees can walk to different items and it can take hours to complete customer orders,” says Robinson.

Now, with the help of robots, the task will take only a few minutes – and humans will be reduced.

So does this mean we are entering a new industrial revolution?

Researchers have taken a big step toward mind-controlled robots.

All technical considerations

Researchers have taken a big step toward mind-controlled robots.

“It definitely takes a lot of work,” said Karen myers, a scientist at SRI, one of silicon valley’s oldest research centers.

‘at the same time, we are overcoming the limitations of technology,’ she said. Select “picker” at amazon’s operations center. Myers says these skills have proven to be unique.

“Our fingers are very dexterous and the performance of this generation of robot manipulators is getting better and better,” she said. “But they haven’t arrived yet.”

And the brain of the robot.

Remember the board game that amazon employees are looking for? She could hardly see the box – it was stuffed into a locker – but she could tell it was a board game. Robots cannot do this.

Technicians say humans are increasingly working side-by-side with robots – not robots that work alone.

Amazon says that robots and humans have made it possible for tracey’s warehouse to complete customer orders more quickly. That means more customers and more people.


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