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Amazon to invest in more robots to speed up deliveries and packing

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Amazon is ramping up investment into robotics as part of its ambitions to speed up its packaging and delivery processes.

The tech giant’s $1bn (£880m) industrial innovation fund, its venture capital arm established in 2022, aims to accelerate investment into startups combining artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics.

Head of the fund, Franziska Bossart, said this will boost Amazon’s goal of becoming “more efficient, safer for our associates, and increase the speed of delivery to our customers”.

While details of the fund’s first investment in a generative AI company remain largely secret, it told the Financial Times it plans to broaden its scope by targeting “last mile” companies involved in the final leg of deliveries and later-stage companies.

The Amazon industrial innovation fund has made 12 investments so far but Bossart declined to comment on the fund’s total deployment. One report by the Wall Street Journal suggested the investments totalled $110m (£85m) as of June.

One of the 12 investments was into Mantis Robotics, which is developing a sensor-equipped robotic arm to assist employees. 

Bossart said the automation of its logistics would mean a transition in job roles rather than job cuts, insisting Amazon is “a long way off from replacing all humans”.

It comes amid a scramble by big tech companies and investors to back firms involved in artificial intelligence in recent months.

Amazon is also investing up to $4bn into Anthropic, an AI startup that will become part of Amazon Web Services (AWS), enabling customers to build generative AI applications in the cloud.

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