Here's something fascinating. Amazon buys Kiva Systems. As far as I can tell, Amazon are the first of the internet giants to take robotics seriously. (I know Microsoft has a robotics platform and Android did that hook up with Willow Garage last year, but those are minor experiments trying to figure out a market.)
What's significant :
- Amazon have a real use-case for this. They're a customer and will undoubtedly be improving the technology to suit themselves.
- Amazon have a history of transferring the technologies they perfect for in-house use to products aimed at third parties. (Z-shops, AWS, Mechanical Turk).
How soon before Amazon start offering integrated supply-chain management with completely automated warehouses to third parties as a turnkey solution?