This holiday season, Amazon's little helper is an orange, 320-pound robot called Kiva.
The robots -- more than 15,000 of them companywide -- are part of Amazon's high-tech effort to get orders to customers faster. By lifting shelves of Amazon products off the ground and speedily delivering them to employee stations, the robots dramatically reduce the time it takes for workers to find items and put them into boxes for shipment.
On the eve of Cyber Monday, Amazon's year-old warehouse in Tracy, Calif., was buzzing with activity as the retailer prepared for one of the biggest shopping days of the year.
Kiva robots zoomed around the floor with uncanny precision, hoisting shelves containing video games, coloring books and stuffed animals. Yellow bins filled with merchandise zipped by on conveyor belts. A group of employees, some sporting red Santa hats, spent their break doing a series of arm stretches.
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