FedEx installs package-sorting robotic arms at Memphis hub

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FedEx has installed four robotic sorting arms at its Memphis hub in the US. FedEx teamed up with robotics companies Yaskawa, which supplied the robotic arms, and Plus One provided the AI software serving as the robots’ eyes which allows the robots to learn how to pick up a wide range of packages and envelopes. The four robots are fully operational and supervised by human crew chiefs, some of whom are former package sorters.

The four robots can handle 6,000 to 8,000 packages daily, depending on the kinds of packages they encounter. The robotic arms, located at the Memphis International Airport-based hub’s small Package Sort System (SPSS), pick up packages from a collection bin and move them to a conveyor belt. After that, the packages are scanned and inducted into FedEx’s sorting system.

FedEx stated in a news release that the robotic arms aim to streamline the repetitive process of sorting small packages at the hub. They also allow for operations to be more flexible. The robotic arms are the latest development in FedEx’s efforts to automate steps in its delivery network.

Other developments include FedEx Ground’s fully automated hub in Olive Branch, where human employees are on hand to help with oversized packages going through the sorting process. FedEx is also testing drone deliveries for rural customers and same-day deliveries in urban areas via its “Roxo” robot.

Source: Commercial appeal

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