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Workers in warehouses could soon lose their jobs to HUMANOID ROBOTS

  As technology continues to advance, more warehouses are starting to use robots. Only recently, humanoid robots were introduced to warehous...

 As technology continues to advance, more warehouses are starting to use robots. Only recently, humanoid robots were introduced to warehouses.

Now, other industries are also being targeted by this humanoid robot invasion. These include manufacturing, elder care and healthcare, food production and agriculture. The production of humanoid robots designed to fit in these industries is slated to begin in late 2024.

As of writing, humanoid robots are starting to work side by side with human employees. In warehouses, these robots are tasked with moving heavy boxes and containers.

"Labor-saving" robots could reshape the workforce

Companies are eyeing "labor-saving robots with dexterous fingers and a human appearance" because they could change the workforce in various fields. However, robot manufacturers must first develop humanoid robots that can walk without falling, hold a charge long enough to be useful and handle different items without fumbling.

The ultimate goal is to design and produce robots that can handle housework, which can be useful for busy homeowners and those who may need help with chores such as doing the dishes and the laundry.  

Austin-based startup Apptronik unveiled Apollo, the newest humanoid robot, on Aug. 23.

Apollo is an all-electric model that is five feet, eight inches tall, weighs 160 pounds and can lift 55 pounds of weight. Apptronik claims Apollo is "the world's most capable humanoid robot."

Apollo was designed to revolutionize the industrial workforce and beyond by improving the human experience. Apptronik says Apollo is the first commercial humanoid robot designed for "friendly interaction, mass manufacturability, performance and safety."

The Apptronik team spent at least a decade building more than 10 unique robots as they tried to perfect Apollo, a humanoid robot built to work in environments designed for, and directly alongside, humans.

With a roughly human size, Apollo allegedly has a unique force control architecture that maintains safe operation around people similar to a collaborative robot. Aside from practical safety features, the physical design of Apollo is crucial to making human employees comfortable working around and with humanoid robots.

Apollo's strategic design was pioneered by argodesign, which created a form that balances complexity and approachability. Apollo's design was intended to make the robot easy to use and work with, as well as distinct and recognizable.

Digital panels on Apollo's face and chest were designed for easy communication while its "friendly, human-like countenance" was intended to set a new standard for human-robot interactions. Apptronik claims that Apollo's face approximates a pleasant face-to-face exchange with a favorite co-worker.

Apollo robot could steal jobs from human workers in the near future

Jeff Cardenas, Apptronik CEO, said science fiction has promised humanity inventions like Apollo for a long time.

Apollo can run for four hours before its battery needs to be replaced, and it is one of several first-generation robots designed for live action in the workplace.

According to Cardenas, Apollo was initially designed to start working in the supply chain by taking care of basic material handling tasks and moving boxes and totes.

This version of Apollo is "a software update away from a new feature or functionality," added Cardenas. When thinking of the long term, he said that Apollo's applications are limitless.

Apptronik won't name its customers and has only released several production prototypes, but the startup claims that Apollo is suited for "mass manufacturability."

The startup has finished building two Apollo robots and is currently building four more. According to Cardenas, these robots are Apptronik's "alpha units" and "engineering validation prototypes."

Next, Apptronik will be producing beta units (less than 100 robots) that will be put to work outside the lab. The startup announced that it will move into full production by the end of 2024.

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