According to a Reuters exclusive, Amazon is rolling out specially-made machines that are capable of boxing up orders — a job currently held by thousands of human workers.
The CartonWrap robots build cardboard boxes around orders as they come down an assembly line, according Reuters’ sources. Each one processes 600 to 700 boxes per hour — roughly five times as many as a human packer, according to the report.
The implications for workers are grim. All told, Reuters estimates, the system could cut more than 1,300 jobs across 55 fulfillment centers in the United States. Ultimately, according to an anonymous source who worked on the new boxing machines, Amazon’s objective is a warehouse so devoid of human workers that it doesn’t even need lights.
“A ‘lights out’ warehouse is ultimately the goal,” an anonymous source told Reuters.
An Amazon spokesperson confirmed the tech to Reuters.
“We are piloting this new technology with the goal of increasing safety, speeding up delivery times and adding efficiency across our network,” they said.
Still, Amazon isn’t quite ready yet to completely replace human workers. Earlier this month the director of Amazon Robotics Fulfillment, told reporters it would be “at least 10 years” before Amazon could entirely automate the fulfillment process.
READ MORE: Exclusive: Amazon rolls out machines that pack orders and replace jobs [Reuters]
More on Amazon’s warehouses: Amazon Says It Could Have Fully Automated Warehouses in 10 Years