31 January 2018
Days after its $13.7 billion acquisition of the food supermarket chain, Whole Foods, Amazon is planning to apply robot technology to the company's warehouses. While any official statements haven't been sent by the company, it is rumored to be the most likely move.
According to Bloomberg, automation of the warehouses will replace the paid workforce and will lead to a reduction in costs of the products at the supermarket chain, given that Whole Foods has an image of being excessively expensive. It should help them survive against the older and bigger player in the market, Walmart.
Amazon has already revolutionized the delivery industry with methods like Amazon Prime delivery throne drones, which will deliver the products at your own doorstep through drones, successful tests suggest.
Amazon has already experimented with running an automated retail store Amazon GO, which is a completely automated supermarket that allows the customers to just enter the supermarket and pick anything from the shelves and walk out without having to stand in line for its payment as gets billed to their Amazon account. It shows that Amazon is capable of eliminating a good part of the human workforce from the supermarket operation.
Going by the rumors, the cashier, and in-store staff may not be laid off but the warehouse staff will most probably take a hit. This could cause trouble for the worker unions as they will strongly oppose the decision of people being replaced by technology. However, Amazon, who has been using robots in their warehouses for quite a while now, never killed off their human workforce.