The flying drones that can scan packages night and day

Source: BBC News

By Tom Jackson

Flying drones and robots now patrol distribution warehouses – they’ve become workhorses of the e-commerce era online that retailers can’t do without. It is driving down costs but it is also putting people out of work: what price progress?

It could be a scene from Blade Runner 2049; the flying drone hovers in the warehouse aisle, its spinning rotors filling the cavernous space with a buzzing whine.

It edges close to the packages stacked on the shelf and scans them using onboard optical sensors, before whizzing off to its next assignment.

But this is no sci-fi film, it’s a warehouse in the US – one of around 250,000 throughout the country, many gargantuan in size: retail giant Walmart’s smallest warehouse, for example, is larger than 17 football fields put together.

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