Amazon just recently launched Amazon Go and received a fair share of criticism based on the fears that it could lead to massive loss of income for the cashiers. Amazon is receiving criticism once more and this time it is based on the latest patent that the company has secured which allows it to track hand movements of warehouse workers.
Johnathon Cohn, Amazon Go Senior Technical Program Manager filed the patents for the ultrasonic band and Tye Brady, Amazon Robotics Chief Technologist filed the patent for the second one. The announcement has not been met with enthusiasm and privacy concerns are being raised.
Amazon released a statement to calm down the masses: “Existing approaches for keeping track of where inventory items are stored…may require the inventory system worker to perform time consuming acts beyond placing the inventory item into an inventory bin and retrieving the inventory item from the inventory bid, such as pushing a button associated with the inventory bin or scanning a barcode associated with the inventory bin. Accordingly, improved approaches for keeping track of where an inventory item is stored are of interest.”
Both the parties are doing this because of undermined trust. Amazon feels that some of the workers have threatened their image with the customers while the workers say that the schedules are overly ambitious and they are being worked too hard at the work site.
BBC One’s program Inside Out carried out an undercover investigation to take a look at the conditions in Britain. They used Amazon Logistics device named Dora or the Rabbit for tracking and plotting routes combined with delivery shifts exceeding 10 hours and leading to some workers falling asleep at the wheel.
“It was definitely one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever done, the route that’s programmed by Amazon is very difficult to achieve because of all the things that aren’t factored in, like traffic and customers being out. I just found it impossible to do the route in the time they think you should be able to do it,” one of the BBC undercover reporters shared. This is one of the dozens of similar accounts given.
Whether or not Amazon decides to put the bands in use, the drama will be surrounding the patents for some time and it will be a couple of months before things finally cool down. Let’s wait and see what Amazon decides to do.