Amazon warehouse robots go haywire after butter spills on the floor

Amazon uses 100,000 robots alongside human workers (Picture Getty)
Amazon uses 100,000 robots alongside human workers (Picture Getty)

We’ve all been warned that an army of robots is on its way to steal our jobs – whether we’re drivers or white-collar workers.

But perhaps we shouldn’t be too worried about the rise of the machines quite yet – after a pool of butter was enough to completely flummox a bunch of Amazon’s warehouse ‘bots.

Amazon Robotics’ chief technologist Tye Brady admitted the machines lack ‘common sense’ after the robots ran over the butter a few times, then began slipping and suffering errors.

Amazon uses 100,000 robots which work alongside humans in 25 of the company’s 175 warehouses, carrying heavy loads alongside human workers.

Speaking at the EmTech Next event at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Brady said that it began after popcorn butter fell off a shelf.

Brady said, ‘One time we had popcorn butter, goes down on the floor, then it got squished, so you have this butter mess.


Brady says that the robots went over to investigate – then got in trouble.

Brady says that the robots detected the butter and would respond by thinking, ‘“Oh there’s something unusual.”

‘When they’re driving through it they’d slip, then they’d have an encoder error

A similar incident last year saw a hi-tech Knightscope security robot hit the headlines last year after it ‘drowned itself’ in a nearby pond.

The 21-stone Knightscope robot is unarmed – and actually doesn’t have any arms – so it may just have toppled over.

Ian Winick said, ‘Washington Harbour has a robotic security guard patrolling the area, and today, that robot rolled itself directly into a fountain.’