Advances in robotics and artificial intelligence technologies have stoked fears that machines are coming for humans’ jobs in a variety of industries. Some executives of robotics companies have tried to allay those concerns, arguing that in many cases, people’s roles will evolve, but technology won’t eliminate their jobs completely.
A report by The New York Times indicates that’s how things seem to be playing out in the warehouse and logistics sector, at least for now. The article highlights a FedEx (NYSE: FDX) shipping center in North Carolina that has deployed autonomous “tugging” robots that haul large and unusual items around the 630,000-square-foot facility. The machines are made by Vecna Robotics, the logistics robots business owned by Cambridge, MA-based Vecna Technologies.
Vecna’s robots are expected to replace about 25 jobs at the North Carolina facility—a small fraction of its 1,300-person workforce. The center adds about 100 jobs every year, the Times reported. The manager of the facility told the newspaper that people who previously drove those tugging machines now might carry out tasks like putting boxes onto trailers or loading trucks.
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