TRACY, Calif., Dec. 2 (UPI) -- Online retailer Amazon called in the cavalry for the 2014 holiday season in the form of an army of order-fulfilling robots in its warehouses.
Ten Amazon warehouses in California, Washington, Texas, New Jersey and Florida each recieved a fleet of robots that shuffle through shelves to pick up items for shipment as people order them. The robots, named Kivas, have turned hours of walking by human employees into a job that can be done in minutes.
"We don't socialize as much, but it's more efficient," said Rejinaldo Rosales of his new robotic coworkers.
Cyber Monday in 2013 saw Amazon sell 37 million items -- 426 items per second. Amazon's sales on Black Friday and Saturday were up 24 and 45 percent respectively from last year.
The staff boost isn't all robotic. Amazon announced it is hiring 80,000 seasonal employees to help with the holiday workload. That is 14 percent higher and is expected to support an 11 percent jump in online sales for the fourth quarter.
Experts say robots will take over half of all human jobs in the next 10 to 20 years, but Clark assures Amazon still has plenty of positions humans must fill.
"People play a crucial role in fulfillment for Amazon," he said. "Take gift wrapping. Can we do it by machine? Yes. Does it look the same? Could you still have the same personal touch? No."