Recently, I visited a company called inVia Robotics that’s helping smaller online businesses compete with the big guys with little robots that do the heavy lifting. The company specializes in creating warehouse robots!
"In particular, we help a lot of our e-commerce customers fulfill the orders that a lot of you guys order online when you click add to cart," says Lior Elazary, the co-founder and CEO of inVia Robotics.
Elazary saw a need to help smaller websites compete with the speed and efficiency of Amazon, which employs its own fleet of custom robots.
When you order stuff online someone has to walk around and gather your items. Instead of having humans do this repetitive task, robots retrieve the goods and bring them to a shipping station.
Elazary mentions, "a lot of customers of ours don’t have a robotics company, but what they need is those automations, so we became their robotics partner."
inVia rents its robots so companies can expand their fleet as necessary. Plus, they work in the setup that’s already there.
The robots are manufactured in California with mostly US parts. Their unconventional design allows them to lift up to 40 pounds high in the air. Special barcodes help the robots find their way and identify items.
"They are getting better, but it’s still very far off from what people often look at as intelligent. They’re able to take that on so then people can actually elevate their job and do something else and that’s what’s been happening with technology for years," says Elazary.
While they do replace humans that generally pick orders, Elazary sees this as a natural evolution of the workforce.
While robots are good at repetitive tasks one thing they aren’t very good at is solving their own problems and that’s why humans are now needed to supervise the bots!