- warehouse /WAIR-hous/
- scuttle /SKUHT-l/
- artificial intelligence /ahr-tuh-FISH-uhl in-TEL-i-juhns/
- retailer /REE-teyl-ir/
- resemble /ri-ZEM-buhl/
[noun] – a large building for storing things before they are sold, used, or sent out to stores
The building is currently being used as a warehouse by the company.
[verb] – to move quickly, with small, short steps
The children scuttle across the street.
[noun] – the study of how to produce machines that have some of the qualities that the human mind has, such as the ability to understand language, recognize pictures, solve problems, and learn
He is a computer scientist, he studies artificial intelligence.
[noun] – a person, shop, or business that sells goods to the public
The retailer resells the goods at a higher price.
[verb] – to look like or be like someone or something
You resemble your mother very closely.
The bots, which resemble washing machines on wheels, move like chess pieces on top of a grid. Each square conceals a stack of up to 21 containers beneath the floor. The containers are stocked with some of Ocado’s 50,000 items, which are stored based on an algorithm that forecasts when they will be needed. When an order is issued to the warehouse, the bots awaken and race to the container they need, passing within five millimeters of each other. “We basically play chicken with them: they go on a collision course only to divert at the last moment,” says Alex Harvey, chief of advanced technology at Ocado Technology. The bots are not self-autonomous; instead, they are guided by a system that functions similarly to air traffic control, organizing their paths for them. The bots each have a gripping mechanism and can take up one container. For example, if a product is stored five containers down, four bots will remove the containers above it first, making room for a “hero” bot who is fulfilling an order.
When the “hero” bot has a container in its grasp, it transports it to a picking station, where a person (or another robot, depending on the technology deployed in each warehouse) will select the item and add it to an order. The completed order is subsequently transferred to a van for delivery by bots. “Labor costs are one of the key driving factors in the cost of groceries,” says Harvey, “and our goal is to try to automate these very repetitive, not particularly exciting human operations in the warehouse.”
- Have you seen a robot? Tell me more about it.
- What is the most advanced robot that you know today? Tell me more about it.
- Would you like robots to assemble your grocery orders? Why or why not?
- Do you agree with the idea to automate these very repetitive, not particularly exciting human operations in the warehouse?
- What do you think would happen if human jobs were replaced by robots in the future? Please explain your answer.