Cainiao Network Technology, the smart logistics company established by Chinese e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba Group (NYSE: BABA), has begun operating a smart warehouse in the Huiyang District of Guangdong Province. The warehouse is equipped with over 100 robots that are able to work both cooperatively and autonomously to aid Alibaba Group's online supermarket channel Tmall Supermarket in efficiently completing deliveries.
Each robot is able to identify other robots and make way for those with higher priority tasks. After receiving a command, the robot will automatically drive to the shelf containing the corresponding product to be shipped, pick up the shelf, and place it in front of a human sorter. Once the product has been picked out, the robot then returns the shelf to its original position.
According to Cainiao logistics expert Yu Yuquan, each robot is able to carry up to 1,000 kg. The robots can also freely rotate so that all four sides of a shelf are easily accessible to the sorter. When a robot is running low on power, it will automatically return to its charging station.