1) handling fragile items: humans can tell if an item needs careful handling and a machine may not.
everything to be picked is in a package or a box. The label on the package references handling instructions.
2) odd shapes and sizes: again the human can recognize something and how to pick it up, a machine at this stage can handle standard shapes ok but not all kinds of different ones.
ok. So every item is packaged to the degree necessary so the machine can pick it, transport it and put it away.
3) exception handling: all the odd things that can happen that we can "figure out" better than a machine.
what I am seeing in the warehouse is exceptions occur frequently because the humans did not follow the instructions in the first place. Pallets are putaway with their barcodes blocked by the pallet next to it. The humans do not scan all the cartons on the pallet so we are not sure that the pallet was built correctly.
I don't know. Google has been able to develop cars that can drive themselves on the highway. Where is the driverless forklift?