The Amazon Picking Challenge was an event that pushed 31 teams from around the world to come up with warehouse robots that could do the same job as an Amazon stock picker. The event was one of the highlights of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Seattle, and offered $26,000 in prizes.
While the task of identifying items on a shelf, and picking them off may seem very simple, it actually involves every possible domain of robotics, which is why the Amazon Picking Challenge is such an all-encompassing test. The robot has to be able to recognize objects, plan its grasping technique, figure out how to move and be able to execute its tasks whilst noticing and rectifying any errors.
The challenge was won by a team from the Technical University of Berlin, with the runners-up hailing from MIT and Oakland University. However the real winner here is Amazon, which continues to be at the forefront of warehouse robot technology.