How soon before they can automate the carts that travel around the warehouse and have a machine that does the picking and replenishment? I do programming in a warehouse and can't help but notice how labor intensive the process is. A lot of people on the line putting labels on boxes. Boxes being taken off of finished good pallets ( same product code ) and placed on ship pallets ( a mix of product codes to be shipped. ) Fork lift drivers taking the pallets from assembly locations to staging locations and then to the door. I figure with some Kinect devices, arduino programming and millions of dollars I could automate the entire process. Yet in the Amazon photos I see countless people pushing carts between aisles. What is the holdup? A social conscience?
a few basic things:
1) handling fragile items: humans can tell if an item needs careful handling and a machine may not.
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.
3) exception handling: all the odd things that can happen that we can "figure out" better than a machine.
handle all 3 of them and then you got something to sell to many places.
also I think that the amazon inventory changes all the time .. some places use bots in warehouses but in them they have a fixed inventory format - standard containers to move.