The Challenge

Amazon is able to quickly package and ship millions of items to customers from a network of fulfillment centers all over the globe. This wouldn’t be possible without leveraging cutting-edge advances in technology. Amazon’s automated warehouses are successful at removing much of the walking and searching for items within a warehouse. However, commercially viable automated picking in unstructured environments still remains a difficult challenge. It is our goal to strengthen the ties between the industrial and academic robotic communities and promote shared and open solutions to some of the big problems in unstructured automation. In order to spur the advancement of these fundamental technologies, Amazon Robotics organizes the Amazon Robotics Challenge (ARC).

This competition has been held for the past three years, with a number of innovative solutions developed by teams from around the world. In particular, the winners of the 2017 developed a low-cost solution with utilised an accurate x-y gantry system:

And the team from Delft in 2016 developed a solution which managed to manipulate all but one of the set items.