Flipkart Deploys An Army Of 100 Robots At Delivery Hub: Will It Lead To Job Loss In Bengaluru?

These robots can do 10X more work, compared to humans.

Flipkart deploys robots in Bengaluru
Flipkart deploys robots in Bengaluru

In an innovative move, Walmart-owned Flipkart has deployed an army of robots at its Bengaluru delivery hub.

As per some reports, these robots can perform at 10-times more efficiency, compared to human beings.

Now, the big question: Will these robots lead to job loss?

Flipkart’s Army of Robots Arrive At Bengaluru

For the first time ever, Flipkart has decided to deploy robots at their delivery hub for streamlining their supply chain.

Named as Automated Guided Vehicles or AGV, these robots have been deployed at one of their major delivery hubs in Bengaluru. Total of 100 such AGVs have already arrived, and started operations.

Explaining how these robots will help Flipkart to reach 200 million customers, Krishna Raghavan, SVP, tech, eKart said, “We want to solve for precision, we want to solve for scale and we want to solve for efficiency. All of these aspects are very important for us if we want to reach the next 200 million customers.”

What Will These Robots Do?

As of now, these robots have been programmed to accomplish these three basic tasks:

  • Pick products from a conveyor belt
  • Scan them
  • Drop these products on a chute, which is assigned to a specific pin code

Besides, these robots have been equipped with anti-collision technology, so that they don’t get bumped into each other, while performing their tasks.

One single robot is capable of sorting 4500 products in an hour, which 10 times more than what a human can do.

Robots At Flipkart: Will This Lead To Job Loss?

Job loss and automation/robotics are no doubt, closely linked, and whenever such automation is deployed, job loss do occur.

It would be too early to speculate whether 100 robots at Flipkart’s one of the delivery hubs can lead to job loss or not, but we can observe what happened with Amazon’s robots.

As of June, 2018, Amazon had deployed 100,000 robots across their delivery hubs in the US. Jeff Bezos has repeatedly stated that the humans which these robots have replaced have been relocated to other profiles. As per Jeff, robots dont have common sense, which only humans have.

But, there have been job cuts.

Last year, industry observers noted that compared to 2017, Amazon had hired 20,000 less employees` to tackle the Christmas rush. Hence, this 20,000 less jobs created by Amazon can be directly attributed to robots.

The question of job loss due to automation is a debatable one, and studies are going on in this regard.

As part of a study on loss due to industrial robots, Sunil Mani, professor and director at the Centre for Development Studies (CDS), Thiruvananthapuram found out that there has been an increase of 200% in the number of robots used in India.

As of 2016, more than 16,000 robots were being used in various industries in India.

Around 10 robots per 10000 employees is the ratio right now, and increasing at a fast pace. The same density if 500+ in Japan, and 300+ in Korea.

We will keep you updated, as more details come in.

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