The holiday shopping season is underway and customers have already begun to make purchases and place orders on Amazon. The e-commerce giant said it saw a “record-breaking” Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping, and plans to further improve shopping, shipping, and delivery with the use of artificial intelligence.
Online shopping reached new heights of popularity in 2020 as much of the world tried to navigate the holiday shopping season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Shopping online hasn’t lost steam in the years since, however, and data estimates continued growth as far out as 2030.
“Global online shopping sales revenue will total an estimated $6.31 trillion for 2023; projections indicate that sales will reach $11.6 trillion by 2030,” Capital One said in a report.
AI has exploded in popularity, so it’s no surprise that Amazon is looking to incorporate the technology into its retail system. It’s just one of a myriad of large tech companies that see AI as the next wave of innovation.
Still, Amazon has a pretty long history with AI usage.
Amazon said it introduced deep learning to its Supply Chain Optimization Tracker, or SCOT, 10 years ago. With SCOT’s forecasts, Amazon said it can better decide which products – and how much – to stock. The AI forecasting tools mean shoppers are less likely to encounter “out of stock” messages.
The e-commerce giant is also using AI-enabled robots with “machine vision” to “recognize, sort, and inspect the quality of hundreds of millions of diverse goods” ahead being packaged, loaded onto trucks, and shipped out to customers.
Amazon currently boasts the “world’s largest fleet” of 750,000 mobile industrial robots that spring into action when a customer clicks the “buy now” button.
Amazon’s AI robotics technology also extends to sorting packages. AI-powered bots also use a special vision system, like the mobile industrial robots, to recognize package sizes and weight as well as how the machine itself will handle the items.
Amazon said it’s also using AI to pick the best route for delivery and account for different circumstances like early or late delivery and inclement weather.
“AI is helping us predict the unpredictable,” Scot Hamilton, Amazon’s vice president for last-mile delivery routing and planning technology said in a statement.
Hamilton’s team uses generative AI and large language models to streamline driver decisions based on customer delivery notes, addresses, and road entry points.
“AI is critical because there are too many decisions that need to be made in the moment that can’t be done manually anymore, especially at this scale,” Hamilton said. “AI continually helps us improve day after day, minute after minute, so we can take packages to our customers in safer, better, and more efficient ways.”
Image credit: Amazon