Robotics continues to advance. A company that is working to place robots working with humans is IAM Robotics. Their mobile, autonomous piece picking robot will be showing up in warehouses soon.
It is capable of lifting objects weighing up to 15 pounds with its 18 inch long vacuum gripper arm. It can reach items on shelves from 3 inches to 85 inches off of the floor, and the on-board removable basket can hold up to 50 pounds. Demonstrated picking rate has been equal or better than the 200 picks per hour for the typical human.
The wheeled base can easily navigate existing ‘human size’ aisles making replacement of human “pickers” easier. As is often an advantage with robots, these pickers can easily work nearly 24/7, really only needing to stop for battery recharge or minor repairs.
Read more in “IAM Robotics Takes on Automated Warehouse Picking“